I woke up this morning with a tight chest, and if I’m honest with you I went to sleep with one too. Fear has a way of gripping us, doesn’t it? It gets a hold of us in a way that maybe any other emotion cannot. It consumes us, eats us alive, and terrorizes our dreams, both sleeping and waking.
This week, we are prepping for the storm of the century in the Carolinas, Hurricane Florence. With her track barreling straight towards our pristine OBX coastline, this Category 4 (potential Category 5 storm) has the power and the wind behind it and is going to leave a swath of destruction in her wake. She’s going to make history, and not a good kind of history.
As I and others battening down the hatches (quite literally) today, I’m also heavy with another memory. September 11, 2001 is also that kind of history we don’t want to have. Thousands of souls lost their lives in the worst terrorist attack on American soil in the history of our nation with fatal tragedy and utter destruction. Our hearts are heavy today as we remember the tragic events of 17 years ago on 9/11/01, but also as we prepare for the impending hurricane that is going to envelop our beautiful state in a matter of days, hours, and minutes. That’s a whole lot of heavy.
It seems to me that its almost like we’re all holding this collective breath of air. Like we’ve all at once taken a deep breath in and are holding it, waiting, anticipating. With chests full of air, pulled tight by fear, we are curling inwards and crawling away from those things which hurt us most. We are receding and retreating, away from sadness and pain and heartache.
And that’s the worst kind of medicine.
When Jesus meets Thomas on the beach, he asks hims to PRESS IN to his wounds. To see, to touch and feel them. To engage with them. We are called to PRESS IN to Jesus in times of hurt and trouble and fear, rather than turn away from the giver of life. Our natural reaction is to crawl inward. Jesus asks us to fold outward, like a flower opening its blossoms to the sun. We are called to have our palms up, ready to receive whatever the Lord has for us.
“Don’t be blinded in the storm. Live in the storm. EMBRACE and watch it unfold, so you can understand and empathize with it.”
Storms are rolling in. Winds are going to come and blow and shake the house, rip the shingles and the siding, trees may come down and block our driveways and our streets and break our windows and doors. But WE WILL NOT be shaken. The Lord IS good, He IS faithful. We much walk into the storm, clinging to the Rock, ready to embrace and let the wind and waves take us if that’s our portion. We cannot let fear fold us inward but we must less Jesus pull us outward towards Himself.
The storms are coming — with Jesus by our side we can be ready. Let him make our feet like the deer and take us to high places. (Habbakuk 3:!9)