Several years ago my husband and I retired and decided to move to warmer weather. We chose an area of the United States that had very little history of hurricane activity, yet was still close to the ocean. When we arrived in this region, we were reassured by the natives, that a hurricane had not come in decades. With this assurance, we settled in without worries. Oddly enough within just a few short years, 3 or 4 to be exact, we had two hurricanes within one year. To say that we were frightened would be an understatement. Perhaps the most terrifying part of the ordeal was the constant alarm going off on our phones; the government was warning us to evacuate town and get to safety.
During both of these situations, I remember very clearly what the Lord was saying to me. He told me that no harm would come near my dwelling. He told me, not to be afraid! In both cases, there was terrible destruction in our neighborhood, both with flooding and with downed trees and home repairs. But our house remained completely safe. I’ve seen images of tornado damage where an entire neighborhood was destroyed, except for one house. Although not quite that dramatic, it was similar for us.
We are living in unprecedented times. There is turmoil, plagues, fears, rumors of wars, food shortages, everywhere. You would have to be living under a rock, not to see that there is a proverbial “hurricane” coming to this earth. With the internet giving us live information and misinformation, there is never any doubt of what is coming. Just like those loud government alarms on my phone, the world is shaking with fears and turmoil and the internet will not let us forget it. Nor should we. The Bible warned us that these events would happen in the last days. Just read Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. In each one of these, Jesus talks about the end of the age. Therefore, none of these things should take us by surprise. God has certainly not been caught off guard.
So what are we to do? This morning as I was in prayer, talking to the Lord, He reminded me of those two hurricanes and how He kept my husband and I safe and protected our home. He reminded me of what He had told me back then, “Do not be afraid”.
It would be easy for me to respond with, “but Lord, look at this person, or this situation, or that country”! And I have done exactly that. If it can happen to them, why not to me?
Let me share another story with you, this time from the Bible. After Jesus’ resurrection, He spent some time with the disciples eating breakfast on the shores of Galilee. The story is found in John 21. After they had eaten, Jesus walks with Peter and asks him several times if Peter loved Him. He was of course restoring the heart of Peter to Himself, during this conversation. But that is not my focus here. My focus is on something that Peter then said to Jesus at the end of this conversation. Peter noticed that John was following them and he turned around, to look at John and then said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” John 21:21
I find this question rather intriguing. I’m not sure what it was that Peter wanted Jesus to do with John, but the most obvious thing is that he was comparing himself to John. Instead of focusing on his own situation, his own restoration, and his own sin in this case, he wanted to know what Jesus would do with John.
Is that not so easy to do? We look at other people, we look at other situations, and we question what God is doing in their lives. I’m not suggesting that we can’t learn from others, but I am suggesting that we first and foremost look at what Jesus is doing in our life, in my life. What is Jesus saying to me? What is He saying to you? And that is where it gets interesting, doesn’t it? Jesus responded to Peter like this, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” John 21:22 (Have you ever considered the fact that John did in fact remain on the earth until He saw Jesus come back a second time? He saw it during his vision in Revelation! John saw it all before he died: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war…And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 20:11-16)
However, back to my original point. It is easy for us to focus on all the evil happening in the world; all the people dying, all the people starving, being locked in their homes, bombed from the air, etc. It is easy for me to look at all these situations and ask, “but Lord, what about all these people”? Should I pray for them? Absolutely! Should I help, if I feel led to do so? Absolutely.
But just like this conversation between Peter and Jesus, with John listening in the background, we need to focus on what Jesus is saying to us. What is He telling me? What is Jesus telling you? If you don’t know, perhaps you need to sit quietly and ask Him!
The Bible tells us in Psalm 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
In order for me to dwell in the secret place of the Most High, I first have to find that secret place. It’s secret for a reason! You don’t find it by listening to other people. You don’t find it by running around looking for it. You can only find that secret place, by being still. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46:10-11
I would encourage you to find out what the Lord is saying to you personally during this storm. He has promised that He will be our refuge, our strong tower. He will protect us, but we need to trust Him. Never mind what is happening to others. I need to follow Jesus. You need to follow Jesus!
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