What spells disaster to you?
Every day newscasters report the bad news of the day. Most often the evil is safely distant from our daily lives, often half a world away. Hurricanes in Florida. Floods in Texas. An outbreak of some mystery virus as yet unidentified.
It's terrible, but . . . far enough away that it misses us.
Then a fire destroys a home across town. Thieves empty a neighbor's house. A drunk driver hits someone crossing the street and leaves the victim paralyzed.
We shudder and say, "Thank God that didn't happen to me."
But sometimes it does.
Sometimes what we dread hits too close to home to ignore
Pink slips end the paycheck(s) we counted on. A lab test reveals a life-threatening illness. Someone we love dies.
Once we stop reeling from the shock we realize there's no escaping this awful new reality.
And we cannot find one particle of good in any of it.
Times like that we may feel abandoned, as if our Heavenly Father loves every other person on the face of the earth but us.
Somehow, somehow we make it through one day after the other.
When tragedy threatens--or strikes--what keeps people going?
Counselors and TV personalities offer thousands of words of advice. Most of it boils down to, "Simply change the way you look at your situation. Visualize yourself as strong and fearless and refuse to think any negative thoughts."
The "experts" would be out of business if any of us knew how to do this.
Yet we needn't dissolve into a puddle of fear. Strength that goes way beyond ourselves is available at any time.
Peace-in-the-midst is as available as the air we breathe
The best antidote to fear--and the only one I've found that works--is to fill my mind with Bible verses like these. I repeat them over to myself, aloud or silently. Here are a few I love:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:2
In good times or bad, we are not alone
And we are not powerless. Jesus walks with us, through whatever may come. Always. Every day. Every moment.
The horror may come near us and even change our lives. But as long as we keep our eyes on Jesus it will not destroy us.
Count on it.