There have been two times in my life when I have been truly terrified. Once was on an airplane when all of a sudden I was staring at my feet as the plane took an abrupt nose dive and continued to dive for what seemed like and eternity. Looking back, I think it was a “near miss” with another plane. The second time….was a phone call I received on a Saturday evening to get to the hospital ASAP. My nephew was being air-lifted to a nearby hospital after a horrible car accident.
Of the two events, the second was a moment of feeling the MOST TERRIFIED I have ever felt in my life……for any length of time. I can’t recall much but I know I was “hysterical”. I called a dear friend, Elizabeth, to drive me. I had “no legs”. Trembling. Crying. TERRIFIED. I somehow managed to climb into her car.
As she flew to the airport….she began to pray…..she had to pray pretty loud for me to hear her…I was screaming and crying…but as she continued to pray, my legs stopped shaking. Oddly, my tears dried up…an assurance washed over me that to this day…I haven’t felt….until….the evening my mother passed away. It’s the kind of calm, tranquil assurance that I know that I know can only be extended by the Lord.
I’ve been reading the book of Matthew recently. I love the story of Jesus approaching the boat where the disciples were sitting. Jesus walked on the water and right up to the boat. Matthew describes their emotions, “During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were TERRIFIED. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.” (Matthew 14:26).
I have never seen what I thought was a ghost, but I have certainly cried out in fear. I love what happened next. Matthew 14:27, “But Jesus IMMEDIATELY said to them, ‘Take courage! IT is I. Don’t be afraid.'” [emphasis mine] I absolutely love this….and want you, the reader, to see….in times of distress and fear….it is ok to cry out and to even experience fear….JESUS is there and HE is there immediately to comfort…to give you peace and reassurance that cannot be given by humans but only by a HOLY GOD. He will do it IMMEDIATELY. I am so glad my friend came to pick me up, but even more, I am thankful I had a friend who knew where to go to and what to do….TO PRAY…TO A HOLY GOD.
I am so thankful today that I can say my nephew made a full recovery. It was scary and touch and go for several hours…and a long recovery, for weeks…but God brought something…I had never felt in my life….a comfort and assurance…that HE was with me and HE was with my nephew. During that ordeal I was immediately reminded, while Elizabeth was praying…”I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Recently I have been horrified over the absolute evil of the beheading of a journalist in the Middle East…I have prayed that they knew God and could call on HIM for assurance. In light of the days we are living in…I have been driven to scripture and prayer because of the “EVIL” in our world. I try not to watch too much news but instead spend the time praying for others and for my own reassurance and comfort in the “evil of days”.
I encourage you to “overcome evil with good” as scripture teaches. Pray and share Jesus continually. People….like me…often feel there is nothing they can do…but that is just not true. Scripture is clear. We can make an impact. We can be a part of change. Romans 12:9-21 tells us how we are to deal with evil. Read the entire passage for yourself. Here is a portion of it, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good….Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer….Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse….Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Go back to the Old Testament as well. You will find story after story of people dealing with evil. Look at Daniel. Daniel was exiled, forced to become like the Babylonians. Yet, Daniel drew a line. He made an impact. Daniel is the story of God being at work. No matter how it may look to us, God is in control AND at work.
Whatever you are facing today, no matter how difficult it is, no matter how terrifying it may seem, know this–God is at work. He is faithful even when we are faithless. I pray that today you would have the assurance that HE will never leave you or forsake you.