The Lord has a way of teaching me whole truths in multiple ways. As if teaching me the truth in part is never enough. It’s always taught in a variety of ways, through a variety of people, in very obvious ways so I cannot miss it.
There is a quote, which is one of my favorite quotes, by Jane Austen that says,
“I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not in my nature.”
I have a firm belief this is how God loves us: He loves us wholly—not in part—and wants us to learn the Truth of Who He is and how we should respond to Him.
a simple word.
a myriad of results.
opposite of anxiety.
Ironically I began writing this top portion about two weeks ago (and just now got back to finishing it today); and I would probably change the title to “anxiety” now.
Anxiety is defined as “an unpleasant state of inner turmoil.” Saturday, I went to the beach with a friend. After spending all day just soaking in the sun and praying and reflecting on my Creator, I was reminded of the familiar verses in the psalms that say:
I love you, O Lord, my Strength.
The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer,
my God, my Rock, in Whom I take refuge, my Shield,
and the Horn of my salvation, my Stronghold.
This language is pretty firm. There aren’t a lot of debates we can get into over the might of the Lord in this scenario. He is in control.
Strength, Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, Shield, Horn of salvation, Stronghold. God.
Those words are extreme.
Driving back from the beach (late at night), my friend asleep in the passenger seat, I began to see lightning fill the sky ahead of me. It was nighttime and the sky was black until the lightning—some light flashing behind the clouds; some streaks of light streaming across the sky from the heavens. I had to drive toward it for over an hour just watching the lightning that was ahead before I actually got to the storm.
I knew of what was ahead. I could see it clearly. There were storms brewing before me. And I was driving straight toward them. I also knew the skies behind me. I had just been there. I knew there was no rain—no storms. But where I needed to go was ahead—into the unknown—into the storm.
I couldn’t help but to be both in awe of the Lord’s creation—lightning and all—as I drove. But I also couldn’t help but to be frightened—overwhelmed—filled with an unpleasant inner turmoil although I was not even in the storm yet. It was the transition time, when I could see what was ahead yet knew what was behind, that became a point of anxiety for me. Driving through the storm wasn’t even that bad. Sure it rained and there was a lot of wind, but nothing close to what I had allowed myself to build up in my mind as I watched that lightning light up the sky.
And, honestly, this is how I feel in life right now.
Transition is here. We are in the midst of it—and I can see a potential storm brewing ahead. Something I am both in awe of and am slightly afraid of at the same time.
However, this is something I must turn over to the Lord.
Rejoice in the Lord, again I say, rejoice!…Do not be anxious about anything; but in everything, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, submit your prayers to the Lord. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When we submit to Christ, He offers peace…He offers hope. He takes those fears and that unpleasant inner turmoil and turns them into peace beyond understanding. And we can rejoice in our Lord because of Who He is.
Hope is an anchor for our soul—firm and secure.
Listen to that extreme and strong language again. As I was running today, and thinking about how I would finish this post, I was listening to Pandora and the song “Lightning Storm” came on. I’ve never listened to the lyrics before, but they are perfect. Again, the Lord teaches me truths in many ways and in full. Here’s a link so you can listen to the song.
I heard a great quote from Taylor Field, “As ministers, we are not called to be lightning, but we are called to be light.”
This is what I want for us as we move. I don’t want to be paralyzed by fear. I don’t want to light up the sky for a little while and move on from our people group after striking bolts of lightning here and there. I want us to shine Christ’s Light to these people as we consistently live life with them—steady, strong, constant—through the mundane and important everyday life.
Lightning can light up the sky for a moment and it quickly fades, but a firm, strong, steady, fortress of a Light can light up a person’s world forever. I want us to be a beacon radiating the everlasting Light through our ministry.
He is our Rock and our Salvation; our Fortress. We shall not be greatly shaken.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”