When someone loves us we know they will do their best to keep us happy, safe and provided for, but we humans have our limitations. However when we realize with that in mind, God loves us personally, it takes of a whole new dimension.
“With fear and great joy” This so captures those moments when we perceive God not as a far off deity, but a living entity involved intimately in our very lives. I love this phrase!
“There was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.
His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid…”(the strong men, the soldiers, were terrified, but the defenseless women had nothing to fear for they came seeking Jesus.)
“So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy…”
“Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice! … Do not be afraid.”
It is this awe so great it might border on fear were it not immersed in total and overwhelming joy, that quickens my heart time after time.
“I’ve had many troubles, most of which never happened!” Great Mark Twain quote!
That summarizes my last few weeks (during which I’ve barely posted). I might say the troubles did come, but the scary visions of what might come of them didn’t. One of the biggest was a phone call out of the blue during which I discovered my landlord had to sell my cozy apartment I’ve been taking for granted for several years. Not that there was a possibility of being out on the streets, thank God, but still it was like someone wrenched my security blanket away, my personal refuge amidst the storms of life (of which there have been many of late).
One has to delve and face one’s secret fears and mine, I realised, was possibly ending in an unpleasant, dark or uncomfortable place. Being older, an artist, and sensitive to my environment I need a clean, bright, warm, inspiring place in which to function well. I also had to face the possibility that my time in my sweet old English town might be at an end (even my time in the UK). There’s been a kind of pattern to my life and I generally end up moving every three and a half years or so for one reason or another, and I realised it had been three and a half years here.
I know it is always good, every so often, to put everything on the altar and seek God’s will in my life… could He be trying to show me something? Will this be a small change or a big change? I know the best thing one can do with change is embrace it.
Thankfully this change turned out not to be so earth shattering in the end and I hope to soon finalise a contract for a new apartment very close to my youngest daughter’s, it’s clean, light, well kept with an incredible view. not so hard lol!
The major change however was to downsize to one bedroom and also put my name on a two year waiting list for over 60s sheltered housing (cute independent studio flats) with a local church association. Looking to the future I wouldn’t want this to happen in my 70’s!
So all’s well that ends well, change happened but not the scary bit thank God!
Fear and intense joy says it even better.
It’s the feeling that comes when you are party to a miracle. Not simply a routine answer to prayer but the unbelievable, unexplainable, totally outside science and understanding happenings.
Fear comes upon us when confronted with the impossible. Powers so far beyond our understanding invade our comfortable little world and we realise we are but dust, less than dust. Yet fear is closely followed by great joy as it dawns upon us that this immense, uncomprehendable power source loves us. Suddenly all is possible, the problems of the world no longer rest as heavy on our shoulders. God is real and he loves us!
Of course there’s a balance to this statement. Wisdom and caution can be good, but fear itself is never good, whether founded or unfounded, it debilitates us. Whether its a result of age or simply that fear is more prevalent these days I find myself having to deal with it more both in my own life and that of others.
It’s probably a combination of both, at least in the west, our society tends to be protective in many ways. We are encouraged to give the thief our wallet, to phone the police and stay locked in our room when being burgled, not to get involved etc. and health and safety laws are everywhere. I sometimes think back to my childhood when no one worried about being “politically correct”, when any adult seeing you misbehaving would take you to task, when any able bodied man would tackle the guy running off with the handbag. Nowadays a would be hero may even find himself doing time for accosting a robber and a policeman dare not put a comforting arm around a distraught crime victim for fear of being charged with sexual harassment! While I appreciate these attempts to keep us safe I also wonder if we have not gone so far as to become dis-empowered?
Sickness tends to be much the same, we give responsibility for our health to the doctor often imagining the worst while pouring over tales in social media. My conclusion? A life lived in fear is no life at all. While I’m all for caution fear is the enemy and makes out lives miserable.
I have no idea if these figures are wholly accurate, (do cows really kill that many people?)but they are certainly thought provoking due to the fact proportionally they can’t be that far off!
One less obvious thought occurred to me also:
Although beheading by ISIS is intensely traumatic (and something I’d definitely want to avoid!) it is relatively quick and painless compared to the slow torture endured during death by big pharma!
flash fiction from October 2014
Cowering on her bed she listened to the creaking boards, remembering the dark gleaming eyes glimpsed through the shattered plasterwork. Trembling she summoned a last vestige of courage, grasping the overturned broom handle she limped toward the tattered pieces of wood and cardboard denoting what had once been her bedroom wall. A scurrying sound preceded her. Must be a dog, she told herself. If it were looters they’d not have run, besides there was nothing left to loot, nothing except the cans under her bed that had kept her alive these few weeks.
She’d heard the rioting as the last folks were rounded up and placed on army trucks. Her injured leg still incapacitating her, she’d lain cowering as enemy forces over ran the city scouring for any food and supplies, machine guns braking through the silence. Since they left only the smell of death invaded her windows. She was…
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from September 2014
Skinned knuckles clasped the iron bars of his cage, beast like, haggard, grey. His clothes, once immaculate, hung in tatters, stubble and dirt lined his face. He gazed at the moon, pale, imperial, untouched by the hate and anger around him. Serene it floated on high, unsullied, eternal. Against all reason hope stirred in his chest.
Like wolves, eager to feast on his bones, his captors snarled, a rifle butt descending towards bruised fingers. He moved back, back into his isolation, into the darkness, but he had seen the light of the sun reflected in the night sky. He cherished the image of purity in his heart.
Once there had been love and life. Somewhere this moon shone on them still secure and safe in their beds. They would be praying for him of that he was sure; agnostic though he was the thought somehow comforted his heart. At daybreak…
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from September 2014
“Fear is a choice, danger is real”. I’ve yet to see the movie but the words struck a note in my heart. That’s true I thought. Fear immobilizes, drains power, curdles our wits. It’s mostly the calm, rational ones that survive crisis situations. Fear is the enemy! Not the awareness of danger causing us to avoid hazardous situations, but raw, paralyzing, all invasive fear that robs us of power to deal with peril.
So can fear be a choice? Surely it is an emotion and we can’t control our reactions. It’s true initial emotions are beyond our control, but there’s a point at which we “open the floodgates” to let them pour in overwhelming the mind and heart. Fear can be fought.
We learn this when there is no one else to call on. A parent protecting a child will often go far beyond their normal courage.
I’ve had a…
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