Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thoughts on Fear

"Where is your faith?" Jesus asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him." Luke 8: 25

I used to believe I was my mother said.  I remember walking the streets of downtown LA late at night during spring break one year just because I wanted In-N-Out Burger; I spent time sharing the Gospel in the middle east the summer after 9/11; I led students backpacking in bear infested wilderness for days on end; I packed up all my belongings and moved to a gigantic city without plans or much money.

I can't explain it, but fear has overwhelmed me at times the last several years.  And not just I'm-a-little-scared feeling but almost sheer panic.  Probably not natural nor healthy.  I know it's completely ridiculous, but even that realization doesn't make it go away.  It varies depending on the situation - from crime in Houston (I may have been known to call 911 a time or two...both were false alarms, no worries:)) to turbulence on an airplane to bears in Alaska.  Or most recently - earthquakes. 

The reoccurring natural disasters and tragedies caused by the recent incredibly powerful earthquakes in New Zealand, Haiti, Japan burden my heart as I pray for them.  I don't think my mind has grasped the devastation they are facing. 

It has also made me think.  Alaska has more earthquakes than any state in the US.  I have felt quite a few over the last 9 months or so - I know there are several everyday.  Some bigger than others...but they all make my heart race.  It's such a strange feeling if you've never experienced one. The local news warns that the "next big one" is coming.  It probably doesn't help that my office is built basically on a cliff overlooking the inlet or that my husband works on the 16th floor a few blocks away.  We both spend the majority of our days in the "red zone"...the zone that scientists suggest will break off and sink.  Thankfully our home lies in the "yellow zone". Whew.

As for natural disasters (not to make light of any of them), Hurricanes you can track for days and flee (been there, done that). Tornadoes come during storms and you can usually climb in your bathtub for safety (again, I can check that off).  Earthquakes are without warning and there is not much you can do.  They are so incredibly powerful.

Thankfully they are nothing compared to the power of God.  They come unannounced to us, but not to Him. 

I've recently picked up the book Fearless by Max Lucado (recommended by Matt - I'm glad he knows me!). I highly recommend it if fear grips your life at times like it does mine. 

'Fear not' is the most repeated command in the Bible.  I find that very interesting.  God knew that it would be a constant struggle for man while living in this dark, sinful world.  Whether the economy, safety, earthquakes or just the obscure unknown -- we have no reason to fear. I could walk around paranoid every minute or I can chose to rest in God's hands.  I prefer the latter but it's certainly a daily surrender, isn't it?

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