Although I’m writing this on the 20th, I don’t plan to release this devotion for a week. Because in pre-writing, I’m pre-praying best outcomes. I wrote a devotion about Jesus in processing the previous morning (All things point to Jesus, 19SEP) because of this crucial reason: a friend said he had a fever and I feared a Covid situation. More than a small ugh. Not something to brush off. Thank God, it turns out all is OK. These incidents are going to be common to us, and most frightening… There is good reasons in FORESIGHT that Jesus said “Don’t worry about tomorrow, only worry about today” – tomorrow has enough to deal with. And Jesus has said that days are evil, to be aware, because of the world influences of evil – which in turn ALSO become the inner influences of FEAR. Here is my deep processing devotion about FEAR after writing the first one. I share this openly a week later to not add extra fear and angst into the situation. When I read this a week from now, I hope I can say that I believed that Jesus would have handled me all week long with finding me, and un-finding my fear… taking on precautions and not paranoia. (AND HE DID! I add this note on 25Sep – Yes He Did! All is well. I even ended the week with my first non-family member hug in 6 months, details below, after the scriptures)
Fears are Always UnFounded
Instead of saying Fears are unfounded, maybe it’s better to say Fears are PRE-FOUNDED, as “unfounded” fears are before finding, before one’s lostness becomes re-found, before you remember to look at the one who found you and you are to find. I mean fears are unfounded before Jesus gets a hold of the fear to take care of it for you and Jesus gets ahold, especially, of you. Days are evil, therefore hold onto Jesus because He is already holding on to you.
Being found by Jesus is LIFE CHANGING, therefore until you ALSO put your fears into His Hands as well, your fear can unhinge you. It IS still normal to be afraid, yet you will never be Un-Found by Jesus, He never loses you. Even if you, with your fears, sometimes get carried away, Jesus is the better Way. Real fear is unfounded when JESUS IS SO MUCH MORE REAL.
I had tremendous fear Friday night, 9/18, a late night just before bed when I woke up from my couch collapse and read an email of a colleague who offhandedly said something about having a fever. There’s nothing that can ever be retro done, removed for hope. What’s done is done and I had been sitting 2 solid hours in a conference room with him only 2 days prior, 2 feet apart. Yes, we were wearing masks, but still fear fear fear. Although other fever-inducing ailments and Covid cases are low right now, and he could have been joking, the word FEVER begets FEAR at FEVER PITCH. I’m not a germophobe and my fear was so small for me, of my fear of getting sick, but at that very moment having my college daughter home for just that one night struck fear fear fear. Not even much fear for her getting sick, but carrying asymptomatic cases back to campus, to roommates, to roommates’ families especially elderly grandparents. Fear fear fear. I had already felt like I killed a grandparent and I had only read an email. That’s conviction without trial, that’s what makes days evil. Jesus replies with “I’ve got you.”.
Was my fear Founded or UnFounded?
Real concern is warranted, but fear is unfounded when you find the One who can help you to deal with your fear. If you can give up your fear, you can concentrate on your concern and create a plan. You can rely on Jesus to shine light on plans.
Only learning of this fever (or pure joking) incident AFTER bringing my daughter home, I felt stuck. But thankfully we had ALREADY decided to wear masks all weekend, especially in the car, around each other. Best precautions we managed for moving her into school, this was 3 weeks later for a quick visit home, so best precautions were already in place. Best to get off to sleep. That’s when I had the nightmare of falling, falling into a chasm of nothing to catch me, that got incorporated into an awful dream sequence, oh…. it’s not a good feeling… the falling fear is un-grounded not just un-founded, but it’s SO SCARY.
Jesus. Jesus is the name to call. He can catch. He can save. He can hold. He reminded me when I woke up that I was NEVER NOT OK. I praised Him for my wakefulness and realizing that I had never fallen or dropped. Waking up, my Fear Fell but I had NOT.
Fear fell, but I did not fall, because I reached for Jesus.
Late morning, finally a plan began falling into place, so I texted my friend at “fevered pitch”: “Are you OK?”, “Are you serious?” “Prayers for you, and no worries either way, but I would like to know more!!! I can sel-isolate if needed. ” Whew. Whew.
Jesus held me and fear fell. My friend said that the doctor said NOT Covid. I decided to be watchful anyway. I’ll hope and pray. Not sure really what was up but for that very moment my fear WASN’T. Fear fell.
My normal routine of masks and distance brought me comfort in my plan, as we went shopping and back to campus. I changed my mask 5 times that day but I never changed my mind on the real truth in Jesus to comfort, catch, find me where I was.
Jesus is the founder of us being found. Without Him, we have no other ground.
My heart and my burden are in His Hands. My hopes and dreams are in living in Him as He lives in me. My best Thanksgiving is nothing compared to His Giving. In Jesus is Found Living.
Such important scriptures:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you. 1st Peter 5:7-11
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1st Peter 5:7-11
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1st Peter 1:3-9
The LORD is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of what shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
FYI – Monday I questioned “do I work from home or not?” well, apparently I did not even have to think about that, with the new circumstances of a heater repair putting me firmly at home waiting for the service technician. The boiler is needing to be replaced so the next day put me firmly at home again too – funny how the Lord often provides in a sideways fashion to achieve something (sideways to us but always in direct understanding to the Lord). And hmmm, the money to pay – I don’t know the amount yet, but the Lord will provide a plan I am sure of that – I just have to worry about today not tomorrow…
Tuesday I cannot even remember, except for the sticker shock of the oil burner boiler replacement estimate at $7600. Um, yeah. Tuesday. Then Wednesday I worked so much it was crazy but good, really good that I felt well. Wednesday, feeling healthy, I allowed myself to go to work for mostly outside things, online meetings, a walk, a flu shot inside the building for the briefest moments, picking up a fruit share of apples and wow hearing of a spot bonus of $100 for being on the activities committee, wow crazy. I also delivered chocolate (another thank you gift from work) to a pregnant coworker friend, working at home, tending to her older son. I left the chocolate at the door. Her place so CONVENIENTLY near a retreat camp, where I took a wifi field trip, sat outside their main building on a wooden chair, gladly my computer already knows their wifi password. Got work done plus got in some needed prayers. I weeded a prayer garden brick path because I could. I then sat on the bench and I HEARD GOD SPEAK. Focusing away from the fray of life, to set busyness to the side, I prayed and listened. In firm bold letter phrasing “TAKE CARE OF MY SON”.
More about Wednesday, this year’s flu shot arm pain was not to be denied! Ouch but important. And home afterword, I had a total couch collapse, but not from the shot, just from the day. Yes, that spot bonus was nice, so at a farm stand I bought myself lunch then an ornamental pepper plant.
Thursday – that’s today and this morning I am wrestling with ear pain, oh must be allergies, oh rats… arm pain ibuprofen helps yes, and a cup of tea soothes my 5AM cat wake up call.
Friday- no ear pain – no worries – no need to fear – still time to work and still time to enjoy – Friday is fabulous to those M-F workers knowing Saturday is a day off – Friday is Friday – woohoo! And I did an important moving forward step by visiting a little shop on my way to work, which became less about why I was there and more about being blessed to be there, with the most marvelous conversations with the owners and workers. And I continued to be the social one, when I went to work, as I had hands on work to do in the building. And wow I talked to 50 people as I often do. AND I also got a hug tonight, with masks on, with a cherished coworker who is leaving for a new job. Every decision we make is a gamble for human life and death, and that hug felt so worth that gamble at that moment, actually we took 3 hugs before I left. It was the first hug other than my kids that I shared in 6 months. Wow. Yes it is a gamble and I have to trust in the Lord. From the scary beginning of this week to now the Spirited end, God never left me and I say that it was a great week. Jesus always shined, the Spirit always showed up to work with me. As I close this Friday, I keep in prayer those sad situations of illness for friends and family, new deaths, and new cases of Covid in friends of friends that I just heard about. New concerns on top of old concerns for the world. I will not worry today but pray, and let tomorrow worry about itself.
And remember that in EVERY moment that we can live IN THE SPIRIT with no gamble at all, every moment of being alive in the Spirit is NO gamble – it is only life…
Tonight, I pray thankfulness for the week, thank You Lord, for the trials and the joys. I pray that all become one with the Spirit and live each day for unity.
Saturday? That whole day is a NEW BEGINNING. Let’s make it FOR THE LORD.
Amen Amen Amen