On September 11, 2001 I was getting out of my van fixing to go into Office Depot when my husband called me and said that America was under attack. My heart sank.
My boys were at school and I was away from them. I did fear for their lives but knew that they were in the safest place they could be. I would not be able to get to them at the same time and since I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on, they would stay at school.
I bought what I needed and returned home. My husband was still home doing some training for work. He had the TV on, tuned to our local news channel. My heart sank again. America was under attack.
That was thirteen years ago. A lot has changed in America since then. A lot has changed in me since then. But today, my heart sinks again.
If you have followed the news, you’re aware of a group of people terrorizing the Middle East. They cast fear into everyone they come in contact with. Their mantra is – convert to their form of “Islam” or die – and many have died because they have not converted.
My heart sinks. My heart sinks for those lives lost, for those children who are being raped and sold into slavery. My heart sinks for the people who must live in the Middle East daily – contending with not knowing if this terrorist group will come after them today – or tomorrow. Daily they live with fear.
Fear. Fear of not knowing. Fear of running out of food. Fear of not having protection. Fear of what comes next.
Fear. It’s real.
Yesterday in my daily quite time the workbook I’m using called for me to read Ezra Chapters 1-6. Ezra, who was a scribe and prophet, was part of the re-building of the Temple after the Jews returned from exile. It’s a powerful book and I suggest you read it but for now I will focus on one verse – Ezra Chapter 3 verse 3 (NKJV):
“Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening burnt offerings.”
Did you catch it? FEAR – “Though FEAR had come upon them because of the people of those countries”
The word Fear used here is eymah in Hebrew. It means dread, fear, horror, idol, terrible, terror. The Children of Israel were terrified of the people of the surrounding countries. They feared for their lives – one because they were Children of Israel and two they were going to rebuild the temple.
But what did they do? Instead of running away, they “set the altar on its bases”. They worshiped God.
In the midst of terror, they Worshiped God.
Earlier today I listened to a sermon by Dr. Mark Crosby of Live Oak Methodist Church called “It’s time to Wake up – 9/7/2014” and in his sermon he spoke something very loud and clear. If faced with Fear (the terrorist group) and given a choice of converting to “Islam” or dying, what would you chose? He then went on to say that most people given that choice would probably die. His reasoning – they did not live for Jesus in their daily lives.
I had to sit back and think.
If faced with Fear – how would I respond? Am I living for Jesus now? What am I afraid of? What would I do if I was in that situation?
What do I Fear?
Because I believe the Word of God I “Fear” nothing.
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) says this:
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Yes, Jesus is with me. Jesus is with you – a believer. Jesus is with those believers in the Middle East.
When faced with Fear I will do what the Children of Israel did – I will worship God. Doesn’t mean I won’t be afraid – just means I place my trust in Almighty God. He alone will help me to not bow down to fear or an idol.
So, even if/when terror strikes, or even in the midst of every day trials, I know that my Jesus is with me and as I go about the rest of September and future months and years, I will not fear – I will Worship – I will live for Jesus. Will you?
Lord Jesus, be with everyone who reads this. Protect them – give them strength to live for You – to worship You. I pray for them that in this day and age they will realize that You are God alone and that You have redeemed us. Guide them and bring them to You. I pray for the Middle East – your earthly home area – that the people will turn to You. Protect those who are in Your Hands and may everyone turn to you. Jesus, in Your Name, Amen.