The other night I woke about 2:00 a.m.and I felt scared. Don’t know what the trigger for that moment was. Lots of change happening in my life and don’t have a glimmer of where it’s going to take me or my family over the next few months. I allowed myself to acknowledge the fear is understandable based on life circumstances. Then I decided to put it right onto God’s shoulders. Not something I’m very good at in practice. But this time I could do it and then the peace came. Not too long after that I was back to sleep. Admittedly, that sequence is rare. If I can remind myself how good it feels to just lay it before the Lord I would do it more often for sure. Sometimes I’m on solid ground. Sometimes it’s sinking sand. I know what it needs to be, but let’s be real here.
On this go around I’m up to Psalm 118. I learned it was a favorite of Martin Luther (huge dude in the Reformation of Christianity) and he was quoted as saying, “I love them all…But this Psalm (118) is nearest my heart, and I have a familiar right to call it mine. It has saved me from many dangers…It is my friend, dearer to me than all the honors and power of the earth. During his greatest trials he savored verses like 5-6: In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and rescued me. The Lord is for me, so I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
In 1384 John Wycliffe lay dying deserted by most of his influential friends. He dared to translate the Bible into English and urged the separation of church and state. He attacked corruption and the abuses of power he saw. He was being pressured to admit he was wrong and see the error of his ways. He referred to verse 17: I will not die, but I will live to tell what the Lord has done. Interestingly, history says that Luther kept a copy of this same verse on his wall.
These are historic figures of extreme courage. I would like to say I could do the same, but sometimes I’m on sinking sand even though I want to be on solid ground. I heard another story about a village in Central America that was ravished by guerilla warfare. There was a Christian church in the midst of the chaos. One Sunday during a service a group of guerilla’s barged into the church. They were in full gear with their machine guns and faces covered. The leader yelled for anyone who was a Christian to get up and come outside. There was panic. Only a few people rose and went outdoors. Gunshots were heard. The guerilla leader returned. People were in shock. Then the leader brought all of those who claimed to be Christians back inside. They were not shot. Rather the guerilla leader yelled at the people who did not go outside for their lack of faith. He wasn’t a Christian. He was trying to make a point about how strong his faith was for what he believed was right about the warfare they initiated. He could not believe how weak the supposed Christians were who did not rise to admit their faith. Would they not die for what they felt so strongly about? It was a moment filled with shamed for many.
I think of that story from time to time. Would I have stood up and gone outside? Even though my life was potentially at risk? I hope I would have. I hope I never have to find out. The very fact that I can’t say with certainty that I’d be out the door for sure tells me I’m having a sinking sand moment. I need to remind myself of the solid grounders like Luther and Wycliffe and millions of others. They knew the truth. They knew the good feeling of the solid ground. They loved the Lord with all their heart and soul and mind. They knew of (Psalm 117:2) God loves us with unfailing love; His faithfulness endures forever. I’m moving toward solid ground.