Late one night last week when it was still a smoldering 300 degrees out with humidity at 5000% Tom and I stood behind the house to catch a glimpse of the fading sunset. It had been an eventful summer thus far and we wound up in a discussion about living by fear or living by faith.
My husband is one of those rare people you find or meet who isn’t fearful of much. He’s a glass half full, IF something happens I’ll figure it out, when my number is up I’m ready type of guy. He is pretty much the opposite of me which I’m so very, very thankful to have in my life. Because I’m more the type who instead can waste way too much time contemplating a thousand “bad” scenarios that usually never actually happen. It’s a constant war being raged in my mind that I’m daily trying to change and practicing to control.
A couple Sundays ago Tom was out baling hay when a fire broke out in the round baler. He had only seconds to quickly assess the situation and begin the process of unhooking the baler from the tractor while simultaneously dialing 911 and explaining to the dispatcher he was in a different county and needed transferred asap. (Because of our location in the sticks our cellphones automatically connect us to the county it thinks we are in, not the one we actually live in which he already knew.)
In only a few minutes he was able to talk to the correct 911, unhook the tractor, attempt to call me, save a new roll of net wrap, and record a short video before I called him back. When he answered he was calm as a cucumber explaining to me what was transpiring just down the road from our house.
Once I arrived at the hay field we stood together holding hands, watching the fire and discussing the situation we couldn’t control. All while knowing it would take a decent amount of time for the fire department to even be able to reach us. When all was said and done an hour later the fire chief, who happens to go to our church, told us how sorry he was. And in normal fashion Tom piped up that he had no complaints because we still had a house to sleep in that night.
A comment was made to me the week of the fire that it always seems like we have bad luck. That statement swirled around in my head for days. I tried to come up with a list of all this other supposed bad luck we had experienced and really couldn’t see anything majorly bad. Break downs, flat tires, equipment repairs, calves running through fences, a drought this summer, low grain prices, a transmission going out of a vehicle, and now this fire weren’t the end of the world. I really didn’t view them as bad luck either. Just normal every day situations that we mostly have no control over but we just keep plugging along each day anyway.
Some people believe that God gives us these less then pleasing circumstances to test us. I don’t believe that at all. I don’t believe He sits up on his throne acting as a puppet master. But I do believe the devil works that way. The easiest way he can break a person down is by insighting fear in them. He loves to grip our lives in the form of ‘what ifs’. He wants us to live seeing life through a half empty glass, to buckle us at our knees and break us down. He wants us to waste time worrying about tomorrow and the things we will never control. His greatest hope is being able to turn us from the faith we have in a future and God we cannot see.
I thought of the story of Daniel in the Bible this morning. He was living in a time where a decree had been entered by the king that for 30 days anyone who prayed to any god instead of to the king would be thrown in the lions den. I LOVE animals but hanging out with ferousious creatures such as lions is definitely not on my bucket list. Knowing myself if I had been living back then I would have been shaking in fear and desperately trying to figure out what to do. I wonder if I would have been so terrified that the fear would have overtaken me and caused me to stumble or even completely turn from my faith in order to try and preserve my own life in the way I saw fit.
You know who didn’t do that? Daniel.
What did he do instead? The same thing he had always been doing. He didn’t change himself, his ways or let go of his faith. He didn’t let the fear seep in, take grip and overcome him. He went home and continued to pray three times a day to the God he knew could perform signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth even though his actions cost him being thrown in with the lions. But if you know the end of this specific chapter in Daniel’s life, you know his faith and prayers and the good Lord kept him safe while he spent the night peacefully sleeping with lions. And because of this great miracle the king ordered all the people, nations and men of every language to follow the same God that had spared Daniel. His choice to live by faith instead of fear had a huge and enormous impact.
I hope you are someone like Daniel, who lives daily by following faith instead of fear. Who remembers no matter what trial, misfortune, or set-back may transpire that there is a God holding our hand throughout this entire journey on earth, encouraging us to let go of the fear and instead step out in faith with Him.