Posts Tagged ‘#fear’

Just this week, I realized I have never written about Elijah. A giant of the faith! A hero. A prophet. One who God used to orchestrate miracles. One who teaches us so much … about God.

Not only have I not written about Elijah, but I realized I did not know well the stories of Elijah. So, guess what I have been reading this week?!

A friend had referenced the story of Elijah and how God encouraged him to eat and sleep when Elijah was in the depths of despair. That it is a model of how God encourages the same of us.

I checked out the story.

Elijah had done the work of God, faithfully, confidently. He was the one through whom God’s plan to thwart the intent of Ahab and Jezabel in the indoctrination of the worship of Baal upon people of God. Through the challenge given by Elijah, 450 prophets of Baal were killed after they could not elicit a response from their god (thus proving the lack of existence of such a god).

Lets just say Jezabel was a bit miffed at this loss of ‘her’ prophets (and perhaps the egg left on her face) and she threatened Elijah’s life.

Now, one might think, after such a great success that the threatening words of a mere mortal would be as nothing to the ears of one who had just shown God’s strength and power through such a large scale miraculous show. But this was not the headspace of Elijah … (1 Kings 19:3):

“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.”

Fear is a response. Sometimes our fears are valid. But, sometimes fear is a response not to the threat, but because we are weak, tired, not in a place of good health.

Elijah’s fear, that took him to fleeing … it (his fear) originated in his own deficiencies, not in his fear of Jezabel.

Not only did he run away (into the desert), but his fatigue was so great he didn’t even want to live (1 Kings 19:5)

“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

Then he lie down and slept … I expect there was nothing else that he could do at this point.

We don’t know how long he had been sleeping, but (and I love the next verses, v. 5-6)

“All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.”

So … this angel shows up with a midnight snack, which he eats then goes back to sleep. No awe, no wow … he just eats and drinks and rolls over. Why? Because he is so exhausted that the natural responses are muted.

“The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 

So (v. 7), the angel comes back, wakes him to yet more food and drink. This time introducing a journey.

“So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.”

Without a word (v. 8-9), Elijah just does what he is told. He gets up, eats and drinks, then travels for forty days and forty nights (still in the desert … hum, didn’t Jesus spend the same time in a desert?). He went into a cave and slept yet again. He is exhausted! Yet, he does as he is told. Is it because he is too exhausted to put up a fight? Does he instinctively know this angel of the Lord is God’s own messenger? Why doesn’t God correct Elijah’s despair of life? Why doesn’t God tell Elijah to pull himself up by his bootstraps? Why doesn’t God frown and say, “stop the naval gazing and get on with it”?

God knows that Elijah is exhausted. God knows that he cannot see the forest for the trees … he is not thinking right. God knows that Elijah’s soul needs are best first met through physical ones.

Eat, sleep, move …

These are the instructions that Elijah receives from this angel of the Lord (a pretty significant entity throughout the Bible).

What is the lesson? Well, I am still studying this one, but this I am coming to see … God’s medicinal care instruction for us, when we are exhausted, is to care for our physical needs … the basic needs we have as a newborn … so that we can begin again to live.

This is the way of the Lord.


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This season of our lives, this Covid pandemic, in so many ways is surreal. Many of us continue our work, school,  lives as always, just at home. Yet, there is this invisible cloud called change and I wonder if it might be affecting us all, more than we are aware.

Our lives have changed, been altered by this pandemic that has touched every corner of the Earth.

Our work, school, places of worship and social lives have changed. How we shop, spend our time do recreation and entertainment has changed. Now, as summer is just around the corner, how we vacation has changed.

Graduations, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and so many other special events have changed.

Though things are ever so gradually opening up, officials are quick to remind us that we are not going back to what we knew to be ‘normal’ but we are moving towards a new normal …

and, well … we can’ see or envision what that looks like, because it is still enfolding. With this, even our ability to dream or foresee what the future looks like has changed.

There are those who are eager to leap into what is opening up, those that are more cautious, or even more fearful. Fear has been on the rise over these months … and it will destroy even more than Covid 19.

Change is hard. Change without knowledge of what is to come … that can be destructive.

My thoughts go back to this invisible cloud called change and I wonder if it might be affecting us all, more than we are aware.

“Before we had airplanes and astronauts, we really thought that there was an actual place beyond the clouds, somewhere over the rainbow. There was an actual place, and we could go above the clouds and find it there.” – Barbara Walters

I wonder if Barbara Walters knew something of that place above and beyond the clouds. I wonder if she understood that what was, what is beyond our troubles, is a place and a person to put our hope in, when the heaviness of life weighs us down.

Look up!

Turn your eyes toward Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

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Ever been mad? Like so upset and angered that your heart was beating so violently that you could feel your entire body vibrate?

My grandmother, in times like that, would have said that she was so angry she could spit.

We have all had such an experience of emotion. We have all been, at some point, angry enough to spit.

There was such a time that is still restlessly settled in my mind. I remember the feeling that my heart might just beat right out of my chest. I remember the pounding of emotion and blood flow in my head. I remember the combination of anger and sadness and despair and defeat.

I remember the words of the text that sent me reeling … words that communicated

one step forward, two (dozen) steps back.

History invades the present, darkness falls on rising sun, temporarily eclipsing the light.

The inky intent of sinful man is always to blot out the light.

I was searching, seeking for light … as if crawling in desperation for understanding of the whys, for hope to come from the shadows.

what more can he say,
than to you he hath said,
to you who for refuge,
to Jesus have fled

The words stopped my obsessing, my perseverating over the ache in my gut, my heart. What song were those words from? Why did it enter my conscious?

How Firm a Foundation … words penned over two hundred and thirty years ago … words and a message with lasting power. As I read them I was reminded that my physical and emotional shaking were not more than skin deep … for my foundation is deeper still, firm in the care of my Savior.

Then, the words of the prophet Nahum (1:7):

“The Lord is good, He is a fortress in time of distress, and He protects those who seek refuge in him.”

Reminders of my firm foundation, the fortress around me, the prayers of those who are faithful …

the anger fading with the rising light of Christ’s love and promise.

Not today Satan.

“That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”

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For many it rolls off their tongues as if they have been saying it since they uttered their first words, for others is only spoken in the safe confines of their minds … it’s the still voice … that is not so small.

Above all other words against humanity, I would rate this four-letter F-word the worst of them all … spoken verbally out loud, or (perhaps worst of all) lived, as though it’s four letters are the prison walls that surround the individual.


Fear is an emotion, caused by a threat … the thing is we can feel fear over what will occur, what may occur or even something that isn’t likely to occur. So, though fear is an emotion that can cause us to avoid danger, it can also cause us to avoid living.

We all have fears. For some it is creepy (or slithery) crawlies. For others it might be speaking in public, enclosed spaces (caves, elevators), needles, boating, flying or broccoli (or maybe that is just a preference … not mentioning any names).

Some of us have fears that are so debilitating that our fears have become phobias, meaning that our fears are so great that anxiety accompanies the fear, preventing us from doing things and going places that we would otherwise love.


Fear is sneaky too, for it disguises itself in other words … anxiety, uneasy, uncomfortable, overwhelming, weakness … words that send us to our knees.

… can that be so bad?

It is said that there are three hundred and sixty-five times in the Bible when the message,

do not fear

is delivered. I haven’t counted, but I do know that is a common biblical communication to us. It is a message that God has incorporated into his Word, from the Old Testament to the New, from cover to cover.

God knew that fear would come to us when sin entered the world, so he has been whispering, ever since Eden,

… do not fear, for I am with you

What if we acknowledged that whisper when the hairs on the back of our necks start to stand at attention? What if, we reach for a verse in the Bible (see below) and read it, memorize it, read it in the context of the chapter it is written. What if we give out energies over to the opposite of fear … God … instead of giving our full attention to that thing that has our knickers in a knot …

We are not alone in our fears.

May we all be encouraged (as in full of courage) to look for solutions to our fears … there is one and he is always with us, even to the end of the world.

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