If You Can Keep Your Head When All About You . . .

Fear talk rules the day.

I’m not afraid right now but that’s because I feel safe. I know where all my loved ones are and my little town isn’t likely to appear on a prime target list. So, it’s easy for me to write brave words. This is true.

What’s also true is that I don’t know what to do about the Syrian refugees. When one side speaks, I think they’re right until I hear arguments for the other side, then they seem right, too.

Clearly, I believe that borders and precautions are not unbiblical. My marriage is a type of border that my husband and I don’t let anyone else cross. I know where my property ends and my neighbors’ begins, and I want that line respected. I would press charges against someone who entered my home illegally. I don’t easily open my front door to strangers, even ones who look like they may be in trouble, because I know sometimes that’s a trick. I don’t take in every hurting soul I encounter or I’d be running a group home. I am likely to take more risks if I’m home alone than I would if I still had small children or was responsible for the safety of others within my walls. This is my small-scale understanding of healthy boundaries.

If we were at war, though, I’d adapt my rules. I’d have a different understanding of hospitality. I’d factor in an enemy and those fleeing from that enemy.

We are at war, loved ones, with ISIS and with the true enemy.

It’s been said our current enemies are dangerous because of their ideology and because they aren’t afraid to die. It’s true that what we communicate publicly affects the choices disaffected individuals make as they sit in front of glowing computer screens wondering if there is a place, a group, or a people to which they can belong. So, let us consider our words prayerfully, loved ones.

When we speak, we represent Jesus. Let us speak like a family – not publicly berating our brothers and sisters who see a different way to apply the same biblical truths. We’ll be called to account for EVERY word because our words are tools for building the kingdom, weapons against the darkness, and a reflection of our hearts, so let our hearts be submitted to Jesus before we write or speak.

I do have one thought.

I’ve been thinking that the only way to disarm the power of an enemy unafraid to die is to willingly lay our lives down. This is what Jesus did for us and we are His followers. We can only consider this if we, as Jesus lovers, believe there is something worse than death.

For Christians, death is an open door into the arms of Jesus and the rest of our lives. We have nothing to fear from that. Jesus told us this, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 ESV From our place of safety, we must practice being unafraid of earthly powers.

We represent Jesus so our words must not be informed by fear but by faith. We must not represent our own interests, but His. We must speak truth, love, and light into a world full of lies, hatred, and darkness. This will not win us any friends. This will surely make us targets – us and our loved ones. But, they can only take our lives and while that is no small thing, it is a greater grief if they take our witness while we remain on this earth.

Suffering is terrible, death is not to be desired, but worse than death is to betray the truth by living in cowardice, hatred, and fear when we are people called to faith, love, and light.

I do feel terrible fear when I imagine the atrocities happening in Syria happening to my daughter, my mother, my son, or to me. But, if it were happening to me, how terrible would it be if I heard those in safety say we must wait to take action until it’s happening to us?

Let’s not become unwitting pawns in the propaganda war waged by the enemy. There is time before we click, share, publish, or tweet to pray, to submit our hearts, our minds, our souls, our strengths, our fears, and our loved ones to Jesus.

He has already determined the number of our days. He has designed us to live in these times and not another. He has promised to be with us and never forsake us. He gave us the command to love knowing it would have to stand firm even in these times. God isn’t afraid of ISIS. He isn’t surprised by terrorism. He is for us, not against us, and He has mercy on us as we wrestle with these concerns. So, let us have mercy on one another.

Let us not only fall on our knees at the sound of gunfire and bombs, but let us remain there long enough to receive His orders for our next moves, our next thoughts, our next words. He is our refuge and strength. If He is with us, even if we suffer and die, we are victors. If we allow fear to rule our hearts and rob us of love and mercy, we are already captive to the enemy. If we are free in Jesus, we should live as people free to act as He would. God’s Word is to be lived even under fire. It’s easy to stitch it on pillows and wear it on T-shirts, it’s not easy to live when it costs us our lives.

I am a small person living a small life in a small place but I will live that life for Jesus and lay it down for Him. I won’t be terrorized by an enemy that has already been defeated and is destined for eternal death. Not because I’m so strong but because Jesus will make me strong. He is love and love is stronger than death.

I trust the one charged with my protection to keep me safe until my time comes. That one doesn’t reside in the oval office but sits enthroned in Heaven. Until then, I will exercise the full measure of my freedom to love generously, to pray fervently, and to fear only One.

What did one domino say to the other? Wait. We don’t have to fall.

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    The Conversation

  1. Carla says:

    When Jesus was talking with Pilate He said ‘My kingdom is NOT of this world. If it WERE, My people would fight.’ In Revelation the Spirit said ‘those that kill with the sword MUST be killed with the sword.’ I was watching a video the other day about Bengazi. This muslim woman stood up to defend islam, but she DID say one thing I agreed with: ‘islam is an ideology. You cannot fight an ideology with physical weapons.’ She is absolutely correct. Killing them off won’t make a dent in their agenda, there are 10 more waiting to fill the empty spot. ONLY with the Love of Jesus will we be able to truly affect their march. This is NOT easy. Our natural instinct is to say ‘Bomb them! Shoot them!’ Luckily for them, Abba thinks just the opposite. They are carrying out satan’s plans to frighten us into submission, and we just CAN’T allow that to happen. Far worse than being killed is giving over our souls to satan for the illusion of safety when we KNOW there IS no safety except in Jesus. We NEED wisdom and courage more today than ever before. I pray for us ALL, that Abba give us that wild crazy faith to stand strong, no matter WHAT! God bless!

  2. As usual, Lori, you certainly made me stop and think. I, too, feel buffeted around by this idea or that. I struggle for something firm to stand on. And then I remember Paul’s words:

    Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4: 13-15

    The only way we can respond to this situation with widsom, mercy, grace, and love is to draw near to God. We can stand firm on God’s Word.

  3. Lori,

    Thanks for this thought provoking post. Great Words ! I just finished reading from ‘Running From A Crazy Man’ … and had to look you up. You are a gift to us and a great reflection of God’s light in this dark world.

    Blessings, Love and Laughter to you