MANNA FROM MY FATHER’S HAND # 18
THE WILDERNESS WALK (Part 5)
Be Not Afraid
During a morning walk, the day after posting my last blog, while thinking of others’ anxious thoughts, and understanding why they might have concerns about various things, here was what crossed my mind: Surely, we need to be wise and prepare for things that may be coming down the pike, yet ultimately, it is the Lord Who determines our steps. We must give it ALL over to Him.
At that point, one of those sweet little doves flew down into the road right ahead of me, walked for a little while, and then flew off ahead (reminded me of how the Lord leads us, gently showing us the way to go). Those doves have shown themselves to me several times since then, and I’ve even caught them briefly in pics/videos (a brief moment, shared in the video linked below).
Man THINKS he is in control. (One example: He can “create” or modify an “illness” that he can then “cure”–all the while doing more damage by his “remedy”…. Sometimes, his “solution” results in STORMS in other people’s lives.) But GOD is ultimately the One Who is truly in control. What we need to do is NOT be fearful of man, but BE fearful of God–the One Who has the TRUE power. Submit to Him. Trust in Him. Follow Him.
Soon after that, during my walk and pondering, a little bird began singing his heart out while sitting, hidden among the foliage of a small tree as I walked by (took a video of him as he carried on so enthusiastically, you’ll have to look closely in the video to spot him). So inconspicuous, not flashy in appearance (no clue what type of bird it was), but singing out STRONG, boldly, unashamed, undeterred, unafraid, even as I searched for him with my phone among the fronds of the tree in which he sat. Any of the other birds around here would have flown off long before I could get that close….
That’s how we need to be in this world. Unashamed to speak and sing out praises to our Lord boldly…. Unafraid of those who would criticize, scrutinize or hunt us down. Wise, yes. Fearful, no.
So very many word pictures flowing freely every day in this spiritually, emotionally and physically charged and challenging season of our lives.
Then, the pièce de résistance…. The impending hurricane storm “Idalia”, pretty much barreling straight toward us. First off, my heart goes out to those who were impacted STRONGLY by this storm, and my prayers are with them, all along the southeastern part of the US.
When a storm threatens, it’s prudent to prepare, which we did. These storms are so unpredictable, and it’s wise to plan and focus on what’s essential. Being overly concerned, fearful and petrified, however leads to little that is productive or fruitful–and we potentially MISS the things the Lord would whisper to us in the midst.
The storm was due to begin in our area in the middle of the day a few days ago. That morning, I went out as usual. Could have been too afraid to go out, since the storm was set to officially begin that day, of course. So glad I DIDN’T stay in, because it was probably the most beautiful sunrise yet. In fact, at one point, the entire sky was displaying the Lord’s beautiful handiwork. Tried to catch some of that on the video, and it gives a little taste of what it was like.
The storm did indeed hit, with lots of bands of heavy rain (continuing for several days, sporadically). Largely, though, the path of Idalia shifted to the north, impacting those along the southeastern sections of the US, who still need our prayers.
Late yesterday (when I had hoped to post this), we had yet another INCREDIBLE storm for quite a while. It was the most powerful thunder storm any of us in my family here had ever seen. It was directly on top of us with strike after strike, and loud cracks of thunder hitting almost simultaneously with brilliant flashes of lightning! Like living in the middle of one of the greatest cosmic fireworks finale displays ever! Thankfully, and remarkably, we didn’t lose power (but did lose our water until this morning, with crews working to fix things well into the night). Thankfully, His Living Water ALWAYS flows in the hearts of His children, bringing refreshment and nourishment, even in the most challenging situations.
One thing very noticeable in these recent days, after the torrential rains–the BIRDS were just having a FEAST. All sorts and varieties, walking along enjoying a bug banquet at every puddle in the grass.
On the morning AFTER the storm, there was a beautiful full moon on the western horizon as I set out (had heard it was going to be a very bright “blue” moon, being the second full moon in August). It was indeed, and upon looking over to the east, I again saw the morning star shining brightly too. It was a gorgeous moment (also depicted in the video).
Not only was the subsequent sunrise beautiful, but at one point, amazingly enough, there was actually a bit of a rainbow for a brief time, showing up twice as I walked along (the video’s a little fuzzy, but you can see it if you look closely).
Not long after returning home, it was amazing that suddenly there was a downpour (will probably be like that for a while as we work through the after effects of the storm). Later in the morning, I had grabbed my sister’s guitar as my stepfather and I were at home together (while my sister and mother had gone out for a while). We sang some country songs and a hymn together, looking out the window at the rain that had gently begun to fall again. Amazingly enough, one of the bald eagles flew by as we sang. It was a really sweet moment, and I felt led to get my Bible and read Matthew 6:25-33 aloud as the rain made its own beautiful music (Matt 6:33 is a life verse for me). We sort of had an impromptu little church service. We sat there for a few minutes in silence, just listening as the rain gently serenaded us.
After he went back to watch some TV for a while, I grabbed my phone and went outside as it continued to rain (a bit more steadily now) and read that passage on video. I’m including that in the attached video. Later, when my Mom returned, she and I were looking out the window, and I could barely believe that a butterfly flew by. Wow…. I know I’m a bit of an old softy for all these beautiful things, but there has just been sweet moment after sweet moment…. All in the midst of difficult times.
So, all this to say, there are plenty of things in our lives to cause us concern, plenty of storms that will come our way. The Lord actually USES those things to make us strong, and to FEED our spirits the way He uses literal storms to feed the birds, who neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns. He urges us to NOT be afraid, but rather to “fear” and be awestruck by HIM. To remember He is with us IN and THROUGH the storm. He never promised we wouldn’t HAVE storms in our lives (in fact, quite the opposite), but that He would be WITH us in the midst of them.
Another couple images over these past few days that resounded in my heart…. How the tress in this area stand firm in the midst of incredibly powerful winds, and how the birds sometimes fly in formation, holding still as they fly on the current of the wind. Reminds me of the irony of Moses telling the people to “be still” right before the Lord has him tell them to move forward to cross the Red Sea (Exodus 14:13-16). The LORD was going to do the work. They simply needed to stand firm and watch Him do it, and step out when the time was right. May we have the grace to stand “in Him” through whatever “storm” we face, and may we trust Him to help us glide effortlessly as the current of His grace and love lifts us up and leads us on.
Keep your eyes open, don’t be afraid to go outside when He calls you, and don’t be afraid to sing your little heart out, lifting up His praises, regardless of what others think.
One last thing. Last week, the morning after my prior blog post was uploaded, I happened to catch a beautiful moment on video as the sun was rising. Several of those Whistling Ducks came flying overhead toward the sunrise. They may be pretty timid ducks, often avoiding my camera, but that morning, they were flying and singing unabashedly. May we do the same as we go forth, in His grace and by His strength.
Be not afraid.
Here’s the video: