My wife is an absolute weenie when it comes to snakes. A few years ago I was at Wal-Mart after work doing some grocery shopping. I received a call from Lena, and she was a hysterical mess. I asked her what was wrong, but she couldn’t even answer me. She was sobbing uncontrollably, and it sounded as though she was hyperventilating. I continued to ask her what in the world was going on…still nothing.
My first thought was that something was wrong with one of the children or she accidentally cut off one of her fingers. She sounded like she was in shock. I should say here for those of you who may not know my story, this was before Mia was born. We hadn’t experienced child loss yet.
So here I am at the checkout line in Wally World with a full buggy. Lena’s so freaked out that I left my cart where it was, jumped in my truck, hit my lights and siren (I was a detective back then) and flew to my house ten minutes away. I think I actually made it there in five.
When I ran inside, I yelled for Lena. She shouted she was in the master bathroom. I was asking her what was wrong as I approached the doorway. The scene before me was one of the funniest I had ever seen. She was standing on the toilet immediately to my right at the doorway. She was crying and pointing to a pile of laundry on the far side of the room away from the door. In between sobs, I managed to decipher the word “snake”.
Finally putting everything together, I asked her if there was a snake in the heap of clothing on the floor. She nodded her head, and I asked her how big. She said she didn’t know, but she picked it up with the laundry!
If memory serves me, I grabbed a golf club and started moving the pile around until I saw the snake. It was huge! It stretched every bit of eight inches! That’s right…eight whole inches!.
Long story short, I killed the snake and rescued my damsel in distress. To make the story even funnier, Lena had a clear exit out of the bathroom the entire time!
But she couldn’t leave. She was paralyzed by her fear. And that’s exactly what the enemy does to us. He paralyzes us with our fears.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”
-2 Timothy 1:7
For those of you who follow this blog and know me, you know that I have had a lot of ups and downs over the last year and a half. I go from being supremely powerful and confident in my God to wallowing in self misery and brokenness at Mia’s death. Don’t we all experience this? Don’t we all fall short and succumb to our weaknesses at some point or another? It’s like the ebb and flow of a wave crashing into the shore. It peaks, and then it inexorably makes its way to the beach, cascading down onto the sand only to be pulled back out to sea and built back up again. That’s what happens to our faith a lot of times…especially when you’ve experienced a tragedy, or addiction, or loss, or…you get the picture.
Decemebers are particularly hard. Mia’s birthday is on the sixth. Then there’s Christmas without her here. Then New Years Day. I guess you could say that my wave crashed into the shore. I haven’t been able to see or hear God in awhile as evidenced by my lack of posts or Facebook communications.
But prior to church last Sunday, I went on a local radio program called Christian Perspectives to share our testimony and The Baby Butterfly Foundation. That was the start of me finding Him again. Do you know that He’s ALWAYS there, even when you aren’t looking for Him? Even if you’re looking for Him and can’t find Him because you can’t get out of your own way? Suffice it to say, God definitely arranged for me to do that radio program even though I didn’t feel like I had it in me to praise Him for the strength that He gives me.
Then God brought Jeff Osborne to our church.
Our youth had something called Follow Camp, and Jeff was pretty much the facilitator. His website is here, and I highly recommend him for your church and youth. He is truly an anointed man of God with an amazing testimony. He’s also the one God used to bring me back out to sea to crest the waves again.
His morning sermon was on fear, and he gave us an acronym for the word that smacked me square in the face. F– frantically. E– exercising. A– artificial. R– reality. And he summed it up like this: fear is not from God. And if God didn’t put it in you, it can’t be taken out of you. Fear is from the enemy. It’s the enemy’s fears that the enemy puts on you. He takes all of our perceived infirmities and maladies and pain and suffering and brokenness and uses them to prevent us from realizing our full potential in Christ Jesus. The enemy frantically exercises his artificial reality on our lives, and we let him. We let that fear paralyze us into immovability, and we become, well, paralyzed.
We can choose another way, however. We can choose to not be overcome by that artificial reality. Because the truth…oh my…the truth. The truth is that God is bigger than our artificial reality. The truth is that He gives us the power over the enemy and over our fears. If we just ask Him to intercede on our behalf (also a Jeff Osborne concept).
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the fields will thank Me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make the rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed.”
We are His chosen people. He will make a way for us through our wilderness. He will make a river appear in the deserts of our mind to refresh and revive us.
I now have no fear. What could you possibly be afraid of that He cannot overcome?
This song by Citizen Way was on my heart this morning. No matter how lost and alone you may feel sometimes, He’s never left your side. Nothing could ever separate us from His love.