I’m sharing my deeply personal journal entry today:

Sufficient Courage

Good morning, Lord!  (I typed ‘God’ morning and smile, knowing all mornings are God mornings.)

I just read Mathew 23 and 24.  My safety net regarding eschatology.  You are clear about how this is coming and I need not worry, what I need to do is stay in your priceless, timeless Word, listen to you and stand firm.

You have not let me down to date, nor will you ever.  My needs have always been met by you – especially clear to me these past 9 years – as I struggle to provide and take care of myself and make mistake after mistake, learning how to stand on my own, for Christ Jesus.

I come confessing:

I have been going to a prophesy class in my very excellent bible church – something new in my walk.  It is unavoidable (even for someone who left TV behind 26 years ago) to see the evil, black, roiling cloud of hatred huffing down upon the earth and would be irresponsible not to be in the Word regarding the coming wrath.  I cannot get the photo of the 21Coptic Christian men kneeling on that Libyan beach out of my mind’s eye, nor do I want to.

They join upwards of 74 million Christian martyr’s  and wait for the rest of us who will be coming along behind them, soon enough.  “How long, O Lord?” they cry out from under Your alter.  In Philippians 1:14 Paul speaks about others being encouraged by his suffering ‘Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly’.  Because of these men’s deaths, I am strengthened to seek sufficient courage in the face of fear.  God’s word makes no sense to the world, but to those of us who believe, this is an amazing comfort.

It’s one thing to study eschatology; it’s another when it becomes a reality in your lifetime.  And regardless of a lifetime of seeing evil perpetrated across this earth, we are unaccustomed to the threat and fear of evil of this magnitude descending on our own American soil.  Particularly frightening if we have held a dangerously complacent belief that we will be raptured out before the wrath of Satan happens.  And although I gave that belief up 19 years ago, expecting and preparing for the possibility of facing this in my lifetime hasn’t make it easy to swallow when it appears to be at hand.  I would crawl into a cave in the forest – my current option at off-grid living – if it weren’t for you, Lord.  Your Word never ceases to amaze me.  I run to it to find comfort and strength.

It’s frightening how easy it is to step off the narrow path of complete trust in You:

  • I’ve been overcome by a crushing bout of depression, thankfully now on the wane.
  • I have been waking up at crazy early hours with horrific visuals and deep distress worrying about my daughters, as possibly both of them will be overseas for who knows how many more years?
  • The realization that it’s possible I may never see them again, in this life, dawned on me a couple of mornings ago – an awful feeling and one I never imagined I would face. It is the very ache lodged in my heart after they were born; terror at the thought of losing a precious child.  So, conquering this fear by trusting in your love and protection of them is urgent in my never ending training to stand firm, not get unduly fearful, or grow cold in love.
  • I continue to grieve the loss of family life and close proximity to one another.
  • My right shoulder is injured from aiding beloved clients.
  • The realization that my ability to work as I did when I was younger came crashing down.
  • My car is beyond repair and I need to get another one – this week.
  • Do I go back to my RV transporting job? (think: Israel, buses)
  • Drive a city metro bus – why did I apply for that job?! (think:  Israel, buses)

After years of trusting you in the details, I was yielding to rising panic over safety, security, finances, work and a heart-wrenching need to cling together as a family unit.  I have to stop and trust You for all of this.

I admit it.  I am afraid and I don’t want this to happen, now or ever, and I don’t get a say in it.   I can only control my thoughts and actions and strive to walk worthy.  ‘I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage, so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  Phil 1:20

So Jesus, I confess that I have, yet again, been unfaithful to you in my level of trust.  Your Holy Spirit indwells me and somehow I have stepped outside His house (my mind and body) to worry on my own and leave His wise council which has all the answers I seek and comfort I need.   Forgive me.  I’m sitting on the porch of my life and I miss your gentle whisper, Holy Spirit, and I am so sorry for my wandering thoughts.  You have called me.  You need me to be reliable, as Tozer so brilliantly said.  Dependable.  Strong and standing firm.  I turn back to You now and rest in your love, comfort and earth-making, star-shaking power and protection.  You are Lord of the universe and King of my people, the People of the Book; beloved master of my mind, body, soul and strength.   I thank you for this test that I struggle through – may I never be this weak again.

You are coming with the angels of heaven.  Soon.  My job is not to cave in to fear, my job is to stand and share You and your wonderful truth with the world.  You love my children more than I do.  They are in your hands.  I speak of them to you – but I fear not if I don’t as often as I sometimes think I’d better (something like a baseball players rituals)  your watch-care over them is not in the least dependent on me.  You covet my prayers and I can’t stop praying to you, this symbiotic dance is one of the delights of my heart.  I am so grateful for your patience in my progress to be like you, to become holy, righteous and blameless, things that sound like hypocrisy when I once again find myself deep in the pit rubbing the slime of fear and worry over my arms, legs and face with unsteady hands.

So now, bless me, Lord.  I covet your hand upon my head, I need to catch the scent of your immortality that wisps invisible throughout this fallen earth; to feel and smell the cool breeze, hear the sweet sound of birds singing and rest in the knowledge of your complete control of all you have created.  Today I will go for a long, long walk and tell you how much I love you as I bask in your creation.

‘Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.  This is a sign to them…granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.’  Phil 1:27-29