Perhaps, in these chaotic times you can identify with the psalmist who wrote:
“Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
The imagery in this passage reminds us of the dove sent out from Noah’s ark at the end of the flood, sent to search for a place of peace to rest. Perhaps you feel like that wandering dove as you lament, “Where is the place of peace and rest for my soul amid this unending season of turmoil?”
If this resonates with you, you are not alone. The unrelenting calamities that have been crashing upon us like violent waves have left us all scanning the horizon for relief. Initially, we thought --if we just hold fast we can endure this and things will go back to normal— but more waves kept coming. Covid, then economic catastrophe, then racism and civil unrest, then the second wave of covid, China’s aggression, corruption, no schools, cancel culture, more layoffs… the waves keep coming.
On the horizon, the US elections loom, overshadowing the fall with the expectation of all-out conflict in America, where deep divisions are opening up gaping wounds in the fabric of that nation. Where will this all go, how will this impact Canada? Fear is everywhere.
Fear seems to have gripped some of the prophetic ministries as well, and instead of bringing words that align with the gospel (Rev 19:10) which draw us close to Jesus and give us hope— words that strengthen, encourage, and comfort (1 Col 14:3)— the loudest voices are predicting decades of darkness, with some even counseling us to buy guns and stock up on ammo. Yikes!
Where is the word of the Lord?
How do we respond, how do we pray?
Perhaps it’s helpful to remember that there are two hardwired, adrenaline-empowered reactions to danger which we all experience...
We are being sorely tempted with both these reactions right now. The spirit of fear has flooded the nations and is impacting us more powerfully, and at a deeper (more subconscious level) than we might recognize. The only place to be completely clear of it is in the presence of God, for it is perfect love that casts out all fear (1 Jn 4:18).
That flight reflex could manifest as withdrawing— shutting out all news, not wanting any more information, even isolating to protect yourself from being emotionally overwhelmed.
None of this is wrong, but from this place of self-protection, it is very hard to reach out and love others who need you. This withdrawing is the opposite of what the Church as always done in times of danger— historically, in our finest hours, we have always run into the plague. We’ve lived for the sake of others.
The fear-driven fight reflex could be harder to discern, as it may manifest as zeal, passion, or an admirable commitment to action. The key question is, do we see Jesus leading the action, (and we are joining in), or are we independently taking the lead, (maybe even with others) and trying to seize control to stop the waves of calamity. Are we like Saul who couldn’t wait for Samuel as he watched his army shrinking by the hour, a king who forgot that God was with him and that God was in charge. A king who revealed his fear by his need to act (1Sam 13:8ff).
Our fight actions could even be really holy things like repentance, fasting, launching new web-based ministries, or prayer, but they share the angst and striving of Saul’s “We’ve got to do something!”
Spirit-led action can be just as zealous but it is just that— led. It’s led by the peace and grace and presence of our good Father. It’s us following him in full trust as His children, not anxiously trying to control our situation as an orphan would.
At this point, it’s probably safe to assume fear has touched us all, so let’s ask the Lord for His rescue.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
WE HAVE A PART TO PLAY
Yet, we too have a part to play in this deliverance.
Fear comes from a lie that we have accepted and believed to be true. It could be a lie that God isn’t truly with us, or that he’s not active, or that we can’t count on him to be faithful to us. Perhaps it’s the lie that he only able to use seasons of blessing to build and strengthen and glorify His church, but he’s handicapped in seasons of calamity and suffering. It could even be the lie that God needs a Christian to be the Prime Minister before he can bless Canada. Or maybe you are aware of another lie that has stuck to you like a fiery dart, poisoning you with its toxic fear.
Let’s ask the Lord to show us if there are lies that we are believing right now which open doors in our heart to fear. As he does, let’s repent, and replace these lies with truth— the gospel. Let’s choose to believe the truth about who our God is, the goodness of his character, the unshakable nature of his kingdom.
While repentance won’t necessarily change the swirl of fear around us, it will enable the Lord to rescue us from its undertow. We can become like the virtuous woman of Prov 31 who “smiles at the future”, or the well-cared for sheep of Ps 23 who feasts heartily despite the presence of his enemies. He is with us and will be with us to the end of the age, not in a remote, detached way, but as close as our skin.
We have found that place of rest that the wandering dove longs for—it’s in Him.
SO HOW THEN DO WE PRAY?
by: Sara Maynard