I’m totally copying another intern’s blog—well, not totally. I’m just copying the concept. She took the last five days of her time in South Africa and a lesson learned in SA became the subject of a blog post. Firstly, I’m only doing 3 lessons because I was too lazy the last two days. Secondly, I don’t think that what I say is necessarily super special or super deep, but it’s nice if something can be learned from another’s experiences. I think it’s a privilege to be taught new things about God, and the best things I’ve learned have been some of the hardest. So it is my privilege that God would choose me to struggle. Here are my top threesies. And, go…
Lesson #1: Fear
Though I have learned many things here, I’m starting with fear because it was the first huge one I learned.
“no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17
That’s a verse that a friend gave to me when I told him how much I was struggling with fear. I wasn’t just a little concerned… I was terrified, can’t sleep, jumping at every sound, crying secretively, planning a zombie apocalypse evacuation strategy kind of scared. It wasn’t just stories of muggings and crime, but it was seeing walls topped with barbed wire and electric fences and hearing that the police may or may not be corrupt and that NO ONE can be trusted and that when I drive I must hide my purse and the whole 50 step process for pulling into the driveway and getting into my home and to be super-duper careful at the ATM..and the list goes on and on. Why so many rules if crime isn’t that big of a deal? Crime IS an issue, yes, but, honestly, it’s still unlikely that if I’m taking the right precautions anything would happen to me. And if something did happen to me, then it just does and I go on with life from there. God will keep me safe physically if it’s His will to do that. And He always keeps me safe spiritually…nothing could ever harm me in a way that I am separated from His grace. This is because I know Jesus Christ.
“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8
This is a verse that I found one night when I was completely broken and exhausted from the worry of the imminent danger I thought my life was in. I was crying and desperate and angry and just not in a great mindset at all. So, I decided it was time that I found every verse that I could in the Bible about fear. I kind of had that snippet in my mind about Jesus casting out fear but I wanted to read everything I could about it in the hopes that I would find encouragement and, hopefully, some lion-hearted courage in it. I kept having to pray the verses I found over and over, and I asked others to pray for me in an emergency sort of way, as well. This is generally out of my character to ask people to pray for me for such a random thing, but I was such a mess that the only thing that I thought could allow me to continue my time in SA was to give it to God. And He truly did cast out all of my fears.
I treasure both of those verses because the first promises safety and the second promises a peace of mind that allows me to go to sleep feeling secure in His will rather than crying in fear. I was the real life example of both of those.
As a result of this scary lesson I was allowed to learn, I will never fear. I won’t be afraid of men, though I will be cautious. I won’t be afraid of being physically harmed, because I am always protected spiritually. I won’t be afraid of the unknown because it’s not unknown to God, and I trust Him. I’m still learning to not be afraid of the future either, though it is still a mystery to me.