Category Archives: fear

Oceans 

Dear God,

I have never been south of the equator. And I have never flown over any part of the Pacific Ocean. So, this is kind of a big deal for me and your Creation, today, God, as the plane descends into Sydney. 

When we first got on the plane, I looked up at the flight status map that shows your location and realized there would be hours and hours flying over 500mph over only dark ocean on that screen. And I asked Rachel if she knew the Hillsong song “Oceans,” which suddenly felt super pertinent. Not just for the Pacific and not just for the fact Hillsong is from Australia, but because yesterday’s news had me wondering how I can do Ministry with a people so divided. 

The airport in LA had tv screens full of protestors in the US upset about the election, burning Trump in effigy, and news of places around the world bracing for what this means for the world. For my own part, God, you know my heart. You know what I long for when it comes to my own nation and the world. You know how that’s been a passion for so long. You know how it is written into my very body. You know also my deep desire and idealism that longs for unity and the ability to disagree and embrace each other not in spite of difference but because of it. 

So, having just touched down in the plane on land again after crossing the biggest ocean in your Creation, let me say that no matter what happens,

“I will call upon your name/ and keep my eyes above the waves./ When oceans rise,/ my soul will rest in your embrace/ for I am Yours and You are mine.

“Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders./ Let me walk upon the waters/ wherever You would call me./ Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,/ and my faith will be made stronger/ in the presence of my Savior.”

I’ve crossed one ocean. A big one. What’s next in the adventure?

Amen. 

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Thunder

Dear God,

I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy to hear rain falling, especially after days and days of rain in recent weeks (sorry for all that grumbling about days of rain while I lived in Williamsburg).  I’m not kidding with you.  And you’ve topped it off with good ol’ fashioned thunder.  Who would’ve thought that I’d ever smile at the sound of thunder?  I’m sure you didn’t… or maybe you did.  I don’t know if I’m supposed to be “sure” of much when it comes to you sometimes.  But I’m pretty sure you’ve known me through and through from the beginning of me, and so you know how I’ve felt about thunder.  And how little I’ve smiled over it.

A long time ago (at least to me), there was that flood outside of Comfort, TX.  And even though I don’t remember that special flood right after we moved there, I know there were lots of times when the low water crossings were way under water after that time.  And people got swept away after that time.  And people got swept away in low water crossings in San Antonio when we moved, too.  Thank you for not taking away any of my loved ones that way.  But you know, I’ve thought for a while that the way I felt about thunderstorms and consistent rain had little to do with an actual conscious fear of rain or thunder and much more to do with some sort of deep memory of that time it flooded after we moved to Comfort and the firefighters had to come and tell us to leave our house and get to higher ground.  I don’t even know if I’d call it being afraid so much as being on edge, as though I’m peeking out the corner of my eye, waiting for something to happen.  Something bad.  Maybe that is fear.  I don’t know.  You do, I guess.

Is that how Noah’s people felt for years?  Generations?  How long did it take for them to stop looking out the corner of their eyes every time it rained?  I know you promised, but… that was a big thing to go through.  Did Noah or his sons or their sons ever smile at thunder?  Maybe they did, maybe they saw it as a reminder of your promise, of the amazing thing that they’d lived through, of the blessedness of their very lives.

I smiled tonight at the thunder.  I breathed out.  I looked up, not to the side, and thought “Thank you, thank you, thank you God.”

You see, there was this fire.  On top of the worst drought we’ve had in a long, long time.  I know you know.  How strange that something so awful would end up turning some other something awful around.  That flood in ’87 has been transformed by fire and the Spirit.  I hear the thunder and the rain right now and I feel that you are with me, your rod and your staff – they comfort me.  My cup runneth over, and so do the sidewalks in Smithville with rain tonight.  Thank you, thank you, thank you God.

Amen.

Drought

Dear God,

I get really nervous every time I hear the fire alarm go off if it’s not noon.  It just went off, for instance, and I am trying to keep down my panic that somewhere someone’s house is in danger of becoming a charred memory or that the highway will be engulfed in flame.  I worry about the men and women who have to go out in this awful awful heat to fight the spread of a heat that’s even more intense, which is almost hard to believe.  It is so dry outside, God.  I know you know.  I know you know the dryness of each speck of dirt out here. I know that you watch the foliage lift their leafy faces to you, imploring you to quench their desire until they droop in doubt.  I know.  But God, we need some rain.  They need some rain.  I need some rain.

See that’s the other thing.  I know you know this, too, but I’m lifting my face to you – this one here which ironically is not very dry as I finally allow some tears to fall – to say that I am feeling parched and dry.  I am so very grateful to you for so many things.  Please please don’t misunderstand me.  This life you have laid before me is incredible.  The way things came together for this particular job could only have been by your hand working on people’s hearts and minds.  Work is wonderful, in the ways that it can be and with its odd dips and doubts.  But still I am parched, dear God.  Still I am dry in my heart.  Rain in my heart so that it can rest in you.

And those dark clouds that have hung over the town?  I wouldn’t mind if you sent a little rain that way, too.

Amen.

Wind

Dear God,

Can you feel the wind, too?  Do you feel it the same way I do?  Do you feel it like a stomach ache or a heart flutter to me?  Or are in you in wind itself the way my thoughts are in me?  Or both?  Does wind really end or does it just keep going around and around until it has seen the whole world, and then it keeps going again?  Does it like seeing new places but also like coming back to something familiar?  Are you afraid of tornadoes?

It’s been a gorgeous day.  The wind has been that warm and yet still refreshing kind.  I’m pretty sure a storm is coming and tomorrow will be rainy and cold, but that’s okay.  Thank you for today.  I bet I’ll be afraid of many tornadoes that will pass through my life and if I ever get to have children, I’ll have to be brave and hold them and make sure they know that tornadoes don’t mean you don’t love us anymore or that you don’t care about people.  But I’ll also get to go on walks with them on days like today, and maybe fly kites like I used to with my Pawpee.  And tape down tablecloths at potlucks.  And close my eyes and breath the wind in as my hair flows back and dances.  Thank you for today and the warm wind.

Amen.