A Glorious Perspective
In my last post I talked about trusting God in the storms of life, which I try to practice on a regular basis. But I often fail and end up like the disciples yelling, “Don’t You care if I drown?” Even so, I’ve determined to accept the idea of a sleeping Jesus. Sleeping or not, His Word never fails. Somehow we will reach the other side, together. The account of Jesus calming the storm is powerful. It demonstrates the reality of an almighty God who reigns supreme over all things visible and invisible, whether thrones, powers, rulers or authorities. All things were created by Him and for Him. Therefore, the fear of God alone brings all other fears into proper perspective.
I would say that my dog fears me, in that she respects and trusts me as a benevolent authority. For the most part when I speak she listens and does what I ask. But there is something she fears more than me: the fourth of July. I’ll never forget one of her first experiences with this holiday. I had just come home from the hospital where my 17-year-old son, Benjamin, was being treated for cancer. (Talk about a terrifying storm!) It was my husband’s turn to spend the night with him so I returned home before dark to a very apprehensive Cairn terrier who was very glad to see me.
The fireworks had been slowly escalating all day. When I walked into the house she ran to my side and followed me everywhere I went. As the noise grew louder and more frequent, her little tail shot between her trembling legs until she sought refuge under the nearest table. She was no longer under my command, she had succumbed to a new master, fear, and was obeying it's every wish. What should I do to break the chains and offer reassurance? Being the Cesar Millan fan that I am, I knew what not to do. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't show her any affection. This would only reward her mindset and intensify her panic. This meant no talking, no touching and no eye contact. Instead I silently took action. I got out the leash, hooked her up to my waist (so that she could no longer run and hide) and went about my business entirely unconcerned. With my indifference to her distress I was communicating something very powerful that she understood as an animal. Circumstances were under control and there was nothing to fear! I wanted to tell her, “I know you are afraid and want to protect yourself but I know something you don’t. There is no need. All is well. What you fear is only fireworks. The noise can’t hurt you and it will only last for a short time. Trust me.” Of course there was no way for me to communicate all that. I had to show her. So long as I stayed relaxed and kept walking around the house undaunted (by what must have felt to her like the end of the world) she sensed my calm presence and followed me. The clutches of fear gave way as we walked together through the storm.
Over many years of being unharmed by fireworks (and the occasional thunderstorm) she's learned they are not quite the big deal she once thought they were. And while she’s not completely at ease, she does bounce back much quicker than she used to. The calm assertive human in her life has been able to influence her mindset and behavior during a crisis because she trusts and respects me.
When I am overwhelmed by uncertainties or stress, and God says to me, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be discouraged. Be anxious for nothing. I am with you.” I remember the disciples in the storm and Jesus so calm that He slept through it. Not because He didn't care but because He Knew something they didn't: the wind and the waves recognize their Master and obey His every command. I think of Coco and the fireworks. Although they are very loud and scary, pyrotechnic displays are not at all what she perceives them to be.
Could it possibly be the same for you and me? I must continually ask myself, “Will I fixate on my outward circumstances or my inner pain and react accordingly, in fear? Or will I trust and respect the Master who just keeps walking and asking me to follow Him?” When God seems indifferent to pain and suffering, (mine or those I love) it can only mean one thing:
“…Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Fear not and keep walking right here through the storm. We are on our way to the other side! Have a happy and safe 4th of July.