Jesus said, "Cast your fear upon the Lord." Yet, in human circumstances I have had faith-freeze. Facing the idea of death as a Christian with the living hope of eternal life is very different from facing imminent possibility of dire events.
Something happened this morning that ended up being far less serious than what others now face. It happened at my house early today and proved enlightening regarding me and raw fear.
The recent terrorist-caused tragedies across the Atlantic, in Paris, have been close to the heart; and I went to bed with them on my mind last night.
For the majority of French people and tourists, the wolf is at the door, even through the door--a far, far different thing than being at the viewing end of a camera as are television-watchers.
This morning I awoke around 7 a.m. to the sound of loud pounding on the front door of our home. The doorbell had not been rung. Just the pounding in three equally strong and loud hits came upon my awakening awareness.
I remained still and silent, eyes closed, in those ticking moments; I heard my husband get up and go down the hall. I heard the door open and his voice saying, "Oh, alright." I did not hear the front door close. I did not hear any more movement. I thought I heard a car or truck motor idling outside.
This kind of pounding on the door never has happened early in the morning. Therefore, I knew that no one had been locked out or unsuccessful with doorbell attempts and thereby driven to beat hard against the door.
We have a very strong front door that requires very hard hits to make such loud sounds.
My husband got up and did not return to bed soon. I lay still. Listening. I did not make a move to get up. I felt fear, physically, in my upper arms and chest, which retained a tingly cold feeling of fright.
It was fear due to the happening of the never-before - the kind of harsh, loud awaking that has never happened.
After maybe three minutes that felt like 15 or more, I ventured out of the bedroom at the far end of the house. I met my husband coming toward me down the hall.
"It was the police," he said. "The garage door was left open." I leaned toward my husband and he hugged me, saying, "It's scary, isn't it?" He continued: "I thought it might be bad news."
He had seen, through the front window, police car lights flashing. He has no fear of police, and he opened the door, still uneasy. I wish he had not had that moment of dread of terribly bad news.
I returned to bed free of any "big bad wolf" thoughts but with thoughts of how this episode reminded me that I am a different person when faced with imminent unknowns that just might include danger.
A friend of mine once said, "I never say that I will never deny the Lord. I pray that I will never do so." I think more than ever that she is wise toward the inability she has--and most of us have, I think--to completely know ourselves in light of tempting times the likes of which we have never faced.
The experience of this morning will impel me to pray more for those in fear at this hour in the world, including in and beyond Paris, those who know that terrorists are near. They have killed even more people since their deadly and wounding attack on the offices of a magazine in Paris and on a policeman that offered no threat outside.
Other terrorists have taken hostages and killed two, goes the report, at a kosher deli, in days of preparation for Shabbat, in Paris. As yet, no terrorists that have been at large have been captured or killed. France at this moment is under a prolonged active anti-terror operation.
Are we now ready to face up to the fears of more terrorists'* targeting and planning against our respective nations? On our respective shores now, living among us--as the Boston marathon bombing most recently in the U.S.--are radical Muslims making plans, waiting for opportunity for success each time.
Police and militia are trained to overcome their fears or to fight in spite of them. Most of us, however, would freeze in place if confronted.
I remember what I heard a local imam say, in effect, "We do not practice Sharia law here because this country does not allow it." Why did not one of us in the room think to ask, "Then why do you choose to remain in this country?"
I know that this imam's mosque five minutes away has converted former members of Christian churches. Do those converts realize the harsh punishments of Sharia* that their imam would enforce if ever allowed to do so?
Jesus said, "Be not afraid." We readjust ourselves, as needed and to the extent we are able, by renewing this trust: whatever happens and whatever the outcome for us, we are eternally living and safe in God's care.
In Corrie ten Boom's account of her fears of Nazi arrests in Holland, she wrote that her father assured her not to fear but to trust God. He reminded her that he, her father, always gave her her train tickets just before they boarded a train. So, too, would her heavenly Father give her the grace she would need when she most needed it.
Her survival story proved the truth of her earthly father's trust in God for her. Her fears were well-founded, for she and her sister were was put into a concentration camp, where her sister Betsy died, after having influenced hardened guards by her trust in God.
Evening and Morning - sung via YouTube.
*This article link "terrorists" is from an Internet link I cannot vouch for except that it appears to be genuine. There is much misinformation via Internet sources, so it seems right to post this disclaimer. In an effort of fairness toward the writer of the article, this disclaimer is not intended to say that it the article is not, on the other hand, a true account. One can only try to question everything, within reason, and compare accounts and their sources, especially in times of alarm or fear.
*Sharia law - many examples online. Various explanations and definitions online give various interpretations and some distortions.