I grew up in one country, but spoke another language. Now I live somewhere else. People sometimes ask me which place I call home.
“Home is where my pillow is,” I usually say, but it is much more than that. When I watch films I cry when lost people suddenly find they belong, when runaways return back to loving arms, when estranged families rediscover each other. In real life I too sometimes want to be found.
God said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again.” (Jeremiah 31:3) God opens his arms. He loves right now. No matter where we are in this world, we are home.
I wish it hadn’t happened, but this thing called fear was planted inside me as a child. Even now it tries to grab a hold of me. It tries to take over.
I can tell you that fear is a prison. It tears away from us the courage to fight back. It makes us powerless. But knowledge of fear, and how it works, doesn’t mean it goes away.
There is only one way I have found to overcome fear. I make a choice. I choose to look at God, not the one who causes fear. I choose to care what God thinks of me, not the opinions of others. I choose to be what God wants me to be, not what others demand.
When I do that, fear disappears.
You probably know how hard it is when those we love push us away…
- If you don’t do what I say, you can’t be my friend.
- If you love me, you will never disagree with me.
- If you care for me, you won’t tell the truth.
What are we supposed to do? We are upset and scared.
But God doesn’t push us away. He says, “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men? … I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand.” (Isaiah 51:12,16)
God gives us his dignity. He gives us the wisdom how to respond. He protects us. We can move on.
Memories can become our masters. When we have been broken and hurt, and don’t know how to move on, those memories enslave us. It is as if they take over our life.
In the Bible God’s people were enslaved as well. They knew they couldn’t escape the pain and suffering inflicted on them. God knew they couldn’t… He rescued them. He sent hope. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Let God fight for your heart today. Believe him when he says, “Don’t be afraid.”
Sometimes life seems to throw us more than we can cope with. Sometimes these troubles come at once… the washing machine breaking, the fridge, the car, the printer, the telephone, my boots… emotional griefs… death, rejection, and exhaustion… My tears flowed unhindered. I was truly in a deep, dark valley.
Then I got a paper cut and spilled lemon juice on it. I started to laugh. The solution was so simple, I rinsed my finger in water. When life stings, I immerse myself in God, his Word. I drink his peace and perspective. “As we pass through the Valley of Weeping, we make it a place of springs.” (Psalm 84:6)
“I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages.” (C H Spurgeon) I thought I had learned this, but as I looked at the next one, it was huge. “I can take this,” I thought, and steadied myself. That wave picked me up and threw me down. It broke me.
Jesus gathered my debris. “Darling, there is another way to tackle waves. Surf them. My Word is the board. Climb on behind me. Let’s do the next ones together.”
It’s a different view on top of waves. Jesus shows why people roar: fear… hopelessness… the need to survive… Funny how these waves bring us close to Jesus. I think I’ll kiss him instead.
There is a tear in the fabric of the universe! God has come down to man!
I’ve been working too hard, and have gone over the edge. Have you ever done that?
The sun was already setting. I had to get outside. And it was as if God was there. The sun spread out its arms, soothing me. I followed it until it set.
Maybe I’ll start chasing sunsets every day. God is bigger than work.
Sometime I feel like that thief on the cross. “Jesus! Get me out of this mess! I’ve been hung out to dry! It wasn’t my fault, really.”
Jesus looks over from his cross. “You might not have noticed, but I am with you.”
“No!” I cry. “I don’t want you to stay with me. I want you to save me.”
Jesus tries to shift himself so that he can breathe. “You might not have noticed… I am!“
The facts of 2015 could stare us in the face. Broken dreams. Smashed hopes. Where was God? He could have changed those facts, he could have made things better… He didn’t. He had a deeper agenda. Faith. Can I trust him in 2016, even when hope seems futile? Can I believe him that my broken dreams are only the beginning, the seeds of an adventure with God?