"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." I Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
I have a new knowledge today that I did not have eight days ago before Luke died. This is a knowledge I never wanted to possess. I find myself thinking thoughts I have thought before, but they always seemed wildly impossible to me. After the events of the last seven weeks, I am cruelly aware that life can be snuffed out in a moment, with no warning. People cannot believe what has happened to my siblings. It seems impossible that this could happen to one family--our family. I would have believed that, too. Now I don't.
(Nicol and me, 1971)
I had a long conversation with an old friend some time ago who has turned his back on all he thought he once believed. He talked as though he had been deceived and betrayed. There are more reasons for his rejection of Christ than he shared with me. He longingly told me that the one thing he wished he had was that "blessed assurance." Despite all his brilliant mind's efforts to reduce Jesus to a mere man with no power to save his soul, he realized that his decision has created a lack of peace in him that he cannot deny.
There are so many platitudes and spiritual phrases that can be carelessly thrown around at the time of death. They have no power to comfort the darkness of a soul locked in the dungeon of fear. I have found myself tempted to fall off this narrow precipice of the ledge I am walking on. Below my feet, sometimes just narrowly hanging off the edge, is the yawning mouth of shattered faith. I cannot make sense of what has happened to my sister, the one who played with me as a child, shared my deepest secrets as a preteen and adolescent, and has never been my competition. We have faced some of life's deepest hurts together growing up. We have been blessed with a deep friendship, beyond being blood-related. Every time I think of her pain, I feel a physical reaction in my own person. Touch her and you touch me. I have never heard her soul crying like I have in the last week. It tears me apart and leaves me feeling so helpless.
But I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day. The spirit of fear that I am experiencing is not from God. It is from the enemy of my soul, who accuses my decision to believe when my decision does not make sense. When the enemy comes, especially when the lights are turned out in my bedroom at night, he wants to drag me over the edge of the precipice. It is in the darkness that I make the decision to trust, although my bewildered mind and battered heart can hardly think to try to find a way out of the blackness of my fear. Why do I know that Jesus is more than a mere man, that He indeed is my Savior? Because He is the One who rescues me from the otherwise inescapable clutches of terror. Forget arguing theology in the dark. I know when my soul is at rest and when it is not. His power and presence are undeniable. When He comes to rescue me, the terror that threatened to take over my mind cannot stand before Him. I would go stark-raving mad with my thoughts about all that has happened. I would fall off the edge of the precipice. But I cannot fall, because my feet are planted firmly on the Rock of my salvation, whose right, powerful hand is underneath me and holds me in His grip. My numb mind will realize more and more that there is no way I can fall the more I choose to realize where I really am--in the palm of His hand.
Jesus! I cannot convince anyone else that You are the Savior of the world. But let me say loud and clear in the midst of the terror my battered soul sometimes finds itself right now:
You are Who You say You are! You are my Peace, my Joy, and my Redeemer. This I am fully persuaded of, though hell itself would want to convince me otherwise. I praise You that You are my blessed Assurance.