Keep Your Memory in Tact in Fearful Times

I look at it every morning – “In quietness and trust is your strength.” It’s a quote from the Old Testament, Isaiah 30:15. It’s on a wooden plaque that sets on a bookshelf in my study, a retirement gift from the Deacons of First Baptist Church in Savoy, IL. It’s a grand reminder to begin each day.

It’s especially helpful during an unsettling week like the one we’ve just been through. With terrorist attacks in Paris and other places, and threats being spued out like coffee that’s too hot, we wonder with angst what’s next. What happens to our travel plans? Can we have coffee in the local coffee shop, without fear of something terrible interrupting our visit there?

How do we face this? How do we keep fear from dominating us? Can we trust God when we are profoundly unnerved? Absolutely we can! But that may be difficult to grab hold of if you only think of God when you are in trouble. Episodically pushing the red, panic, God-button severely limits God in your life. Help is a legitimate prayer, even for beginners. But finding peace in God is the effect of a long term relationship. Resting in God’s presence, in the noise of life, makes it easier to grasp God in scary times. Calm results from best practices.

Marva Dawn surely got this when she wrote about the 77th Psalm in her devotional (November 21), Morning by Morning. She observed that the Psalmist “. . . deals with his gloom and anxious spirit with a firm discipline of mind, . . . focusing his thoughts on the past, the previous ages in which God’s love had been clearly seen, . . . .” She extols this discipline of remembering as a model for us. God has been there – loving, caring – in life-assuring, at times fear-dissolving ways. Don’t forget it!  She continues, “This offers us a wonderful model. . . . By the grace of God we can prevent ourselves from becoming so overwhelmed by our emotions that our faith is incapacitated.”

Have these anxiety-breeding days we are living caused you to be overwhelmed by your emotions? Have you felt, at times, that whatever faith you had is now incapacitated by fear?
The antidote is not hearing some politician tells us how “we’ll stop this.” It’s not learning one of the perpetrators of terror has been arrested or neutralized. The ultimate antidote is found in quietness. It’s remembering. In the quietness recalling God’s enduring love and care. Marva Dawn added this, “We worry about loneliness or grief in terms of months or even years; in contrast, we need to learn the habit of remembering the Lord’s love in terms of scores of years and aeons. . . .”

The refreshing paraphrase of the Bible, The Message, captures Isaiah’s assurance, where he wrote for God: “Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me–– . . . .”

How are you coping in these difficult days? Click on “Comments” below this post and share your thoughts.

Author: Randy J. Gauger

Christ-follower, husband of Mary for 52 years, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, writer, preacher, ordained American Baptist Pastor, retired.

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