Friday, April 19, 2013

Equipped in Times of Fear

(This is a picture posted by Proverbs 31 Ministries on Facebook yesterday.)

"Bombs went off at the Boston Marathon today." I heard my friend's voice inform me of the horrific tragedy. My fingers fumbled to turn the television on. The footage left me in disbelief.

There must have been children involved was my first thought. While never in Boston, we have gathered as a family numerous times as spectators for Chicago. Immediately my mind went to the people watching on the sidelines that make the race complete. How could anyone do this? It's just evil.

I was careful to shelter my children from the news of the day. It's difficult enough as an adult to take in the capacity of evil people can possess. How could I expose my children to it? I had to force myself to quit watching the replay of images. They are etched in my mind. My heart truly aches for those involved.

The way information is presented has a way of shaping our outlook on the future. Everything in me wants to protect my children from this type of news. However, I have learned the importance of educating my girls firsthand. If I don't give them the initial information, someone else will with a spin difficult to combat. We know it was our responsibility to be our children's first informers. This was confirmed by my 5th grade daughter following the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. "I wasn't as scared when people talked about it because you and dad had already told me."

As our family sat down to dinner Monday night, we made the decision to prepare our children for possible unfiltered conversations they may encounter. "People were hurt today... we do not need to live in fear... the only way to protect against evil is with God..." It's difficult to talk to children 10 and under about these things. At the same time, I realize I am unable to protect them from every evil. It's only knowing God that allows me to send them out into the world each day. I am not entrusting my children to the world. I'm entrusting them to God. Even that is difficult for me some days.

I really can understand how people live this life paralyzed with fear. Without God's Word, I am certain that would be my fate. Maybe that is why I felt such sadness as I read Amos 8:11-12 this past week. "The days are coming," declares the Sovereign Lord, "when I will send a famine through the land - not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the Word of the Lord, but they will not find it." I realize all Scripture needs to be read in context and this is probably referring to the spoken words of prophets in that day. However, I cannot fathom what I would do without the Bible. It is the source of my hope and strength and the reason I can carry on. It's also the only way I know to encourage my children.

As I listened to the President speak at the prayer service for Boston yesterday, I couldn't help but think about the power Scripture plays in my life. I don't know how well the President knows the Bible verses he used or if he truly understands the words he shared or not. For me, however, the two verses he chose are powerful anchors in my life. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that "God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." It's a verse I have used to empower my children as well. Still, verse 8 cannot be missed. "So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord..."

Part of Hebrews 12:1-3 was also quoted (see that in bold). "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race [God has] set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up." While I am often encouraged in the many races I participate in by this verse, the one Paul is referring to is the life of following after Jesus. We need to keep our eyes on eternity and what matters.

One thing is certain: there is power in God's Word. I cannot imagine life without God's Truth to cling to. It is my source of hope and strength. During times like these, this is the only anchor I know to have my family and I securely clinging to. There is more fear in my heart when I think of no longer hearing God's Word than there will ever be due to evil. I am so thankful God has equipped us with the Bible in times of fear.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." - John 14:27

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." - Isaiah 41:10, 13

What is your source of comfort in times like these?

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