In the night . . .

“If you want to get really scared, you should read the ISIS message to America on twitter.” he said to me.

“Why would I want to get really scared?” I asked. “What would that help?”

—————-

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Yesterday, I heard some of the statements that ISIS made in their published treatise. Statements like . . .

“O Americans, and O Europeans, the Islamic State did not initiate a war against you, as your governments and media try to make you believe. It is you who started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you will pay a great price.You will pay the price when your economies collapse. You will pay the price when your sons are sent to wage war against us and they return to you as disabled amputees, or inside coffins, or mentally ill. You will pay the price as you are afraid of travelling to any land. Rather you will pay the price as you walk on your streets, turning right and left, fearing the Muslims. You will not feel secure even in your bedrooms.

In my waking hours, I don’t generally live in much fear. Do I think ISIS is a real threat? Yes. Is it theoretically terrifying? Yes. But I know and can tell myself that worrying about it isn’t going to change anything, and will only rob today of its joy.

But 5:30 in the morning? When in my dream I’m in an apartment with a bunch of friends and someone pounds on the door and the door opens and I see and know within an instant that it’s ISIS with a gun and he’s here to kill us? Instinctively I run to the back bedroom where Jeremy was napping, I tell him I love him, and then I turn back to the front at once knowing I’m going to be shot, and at the same time hoping Jeremy will be quiet and still enough that they won’t notice him there.

{Okay, caveat for accuracy – in my dream I knew that ISIS was who was supposed to be there, but the man at the door was definitely Boko Haram.}

My eyes popped open, and immediately this line came back to me: “You will not feel secure even in your bedrooms.” 

I didn’t have quite the presence of mind to talk myself out of fear, but in that moment I did see what good the fear could do.

I reached out right away for my phone, on my bedside table. I opened my ESV app, and I went directly to Isaiah 26. And read it. And read it again. I was amazed at how it spoke directly to my fears.

“We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

In the path of your judgments, Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul.

My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the LordLordyour hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.

Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance.

Lordin distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them.

We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen. Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!

Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain.

{selections from Isaiah 26}

The good of the fear in the night? It sent me running to the only One who can legitimately quell my fears. And He can do so because He is the One writing my story, and He’s not going to mess it up. I love that this chapter offers hope not only to those who are living in fear, but it offers hope to those who are seemingly crushed by the adversary. His dead shall live!! His dead are not dead.

Are you living in fear, friend? Take heart, He is a God who knows and He will do what is best for His name. May these truths bless you as they have blessed me.

Are you afraid? Trust God, He is trustworthy! (vs. 3-4)

Are you afraid? Let it drive you, push you, pull you, chase you into the arms of the Father. (vs. 8-9)

Are you afraid? Recall His previous work. (vs. 12-13)

Are you afraid? Remember that this life is not the end. His dead shall live! (vs. 18-19)

We don’t need to live in fear. We know the final outcome! But when moments of fear come, let them reassure your soul that He is in control, and thank heavens we are not. I don’t have any solutions for the problems we are facing in this world today, but I know that He does, and I am purposing to let Him calm my heart. May He do the same for you.

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