I used to fear a lot of things. As a child I was petrified of thunderstorms. They scared me so much that all I could do was grab my Bible and sit in the bathroom as the thunder boomed and lightning flashed all around our house. There in the "throne room" I sat with God's Word, barely able to swallow because I was scared for my life. I grew up in Miami, Florida where thunderstorms are a daily occurrence in the summer time and the target of 100% of hurricanes (to me, it seemed like it anyway... every hurricane was headed straight for my house!) Oh, how I dreaded the summers! Brian Norcross was my hero! (He was the local meteorologist... I watched him religiously to see what the next day's weather might bring... I even contemplated a degree in journalism to become a meteorologist because of him). As I sit here and think about the terrible fear these storms conjured up within me, I see how I was robbed of my joy, not only in the present, but in the future also as the forecast for daily storms loomed. In today's lesson, Margaret challenges us to face such fears. I had that opportunity in August of 1992. I was almost 16 when it happened. I had to face my worst fear. I had to bravely endure Hurricane Andrew ~ a category 5 storm that, at the time of its occurrence, was the most destructive storm in United States history. The highest winds were clocked at 175mph. Our front door at the time was made of sturdy wood... french doors, nonetheless! I remember that we had to place our sofa in the front of the doors ~ the wind was so powerful that it was causing the doors to bend inward. The wind howled so loudly that I remember asking my mom, "Who opened the windows?" She replied, "The windows aren't open, it's just the powerful wind." Oh my goodness... the night was never~ending. I was scared out of my mind. I ended up trying to sleep in a hallway on a cushion from our patio furniture ~ it wasn't safe to sleep near windows; the wind transformed and launched even innocent debris into destructive missiles. Needless to say, I didn't get much rest; hearing the debris crash against my house through the night kept me in a tangled ball of worry. Here's the the thing, though. Not a single one of those thunderstorms, nor any of the hurricanes I lived through, harmed or injured me in any way. I am alive to tell the story of how God protects His children under the shadow of His wings!
My 4 year old has inherited the same fear I used to have over storms... she is terrified when she hears even a distant thunder. When she sees the wind blow and the sky grow dark, she wines, "Mommyyyy? Is there gonna be a thundastum?" I have to be honest with her and say, "Well, yes, BUT! God is going to protect us and we will be ok!" Just a few weeks ago we experienced a very bad storm... terrible winds and rain with all kinds of thundering ruckus. She asked her usual question and I gave my typical response. I then walked into the kitchen to go about my usual activities. As I stood there at our kitchen island, I watched her walk into the kitchen with great trepidation. She slowly walked up to our large kitchen window and proceeded to bravely watch the rain beat against the window as the lightning flashed and thunder clapped all around the house. She simply stood there with her blankie and watched for a minute... then I heard the sweetest little voice sing, "He's got the wind and the rain in His hands, He's got the wind and the rain in His hands, He's got the wind and the rain in His hands, He's got the whole world in His hands." I began to weep. I could not contain my tears. At such a young age she understands! He's GOT everything... the world, you, me, the wind, the rain, the tiny babies... all in His hands! The lessons we learn from our children are, sometimes, more profound than the ones we experience for ourselves. Our fears... our worries... they are lies from Satan. Satan is the author of fear!! God, however wants us to have joy and peace! Romans 15:13 says, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." All we have to do is believe!
Since Hurricane Andrew I no longer fear storms; matter of fact, I now enjoy a good thunderstorm. Ladies, face the fear knowing that God has gone before you, is now standing beside you, and will walk behind you. God is all over you, loving you and protecting you. He is everywhere and all powerful. Confidently face your greatest fear knowing "...the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self~discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7.
TODAY'S POWER JABS: