How are you holding up in the midst of these uncertain times? Fear and anxiety pounce on us regularly these days, but God is still there, in control and always faithful. Place your trust in Him today!
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
1 Peter 5:8-9 – NIV
Have you ever had the feeling that someone was stalking you? I have, and it was a chilling experience.
At age 26, I was exiting a Metro station after attending a graduate school class at The Catholic University of America in Northeast Washington D.C. It was late morning as I hurried out of the subway station, headed for my car to rush to the hospital and begin my nursing shift. There were only a few passengers leaving the train at this non-rush hour time, each peeling off in different directions to locate their cars in the parking deck. I had parked in the outside lot, and as I climbed the ramp to the upper lot, I noted a tall man in a nicely tailored business suit a few paces in front of me. Other than the two of us, the exterior fenced in lot was deserted.
Bright sunshine was beating down on the seemingly endless rows of cars, the glare from their shiny hoods almost blinding. My mind was mulling over a homework assignment when something to my left caught my eye. It was a flash of movement, a shadowy blur amid the shiny row of cars. Turning my head for a better look, I caught a fleeting glimpse of a crouching figure darting behind a parked car. Confused and uncertain, I paused for just a beat to scan the row of cars more closely, but the shadowy figure was nowhere in sight. The hair on the back of my neck came to attention as I thought, “Something’s not right here!”
Alarm bells were going off in my head as I quickly surveyed the lot to determine how far away my car was from my current location. I still had a fair distance to go. I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was lurking behind me.
The lone businessman was still several yards ahead of me. Perhaps he would be my shield. Quickening my pace, I hurried toward the well dressed man matching my stride to his, all the while hoping against all hope that his car would be close to mine. I almost called out to the man for help, but was afraid to sound the alarm. Would that prompt an attack?
Car keys held tightly in my hand and an incessant prayer for protection on my lips, I scurried to stay close to my tall, long strided companion, all the while counting the number of cars that stood between me and my vehicle. If I could just make it a few more steps without attack, I could make a run for my car.
Suddenly, the businessman turned right, headed away from my direction, and I knew this was the moment. I broke out in a run, dashing toward my car. In one fluid motion, I unlocked the door and jumped inside, my fingers swiftly finding the button to lock the doors. Slamming the key in the ignition and firing up the engine, I threw the gear shift into reverse and hit the gas pedal. Checking my rear view mirror as the car raced backward, I inhaled sharply, my heart thundering in my chest. In the next row of cars, the crouching stranger now stood erect, cold, menacing eyes glaring back at me, face hidden behind a dark woolen ski mask. With a squeal of tires, I sped away to find a pay phone and call the police.
Just the memory of that moment can raise the hair on the back of my neck. Living in these uncertain times can do it too. As we struggle to deal with the repercussions of the Covid-19 virus, we are brought face to face with a whole host of unknowns. How do we stay safe? How do we keep our loved ones safe? How do we go on with life while this threat still lingers?
Fear stalks us. It lurks in the background, darting in and out of our consciousness, just waiting for its opportunity to strike. It threatens our peace, steals our joy.
How do we run from it? Where do we turn for help? What can Shield us from its shadowy threat?
In a word, faith. Fight the fear with faith.
Faith is our shield.
We can’t see fear, but we can sure feel it. We can’t see faith, but we can certainly feel its impact. Both are unseen. One stalks us. The other shields us.
Peter understood the fear that comes with suffering and hardship in his discussion in First Peter chapters 4 and 5. He reminds us that we will experience “fiery trials” in this earthly life (1 Peter 4:12), admonishing us to stand strong and resist the snares of the devil (1 Peter 5:8-9). Fear is a weapon of Satan, used to keep us in bondage, to stop us in our tracks. But Peter tells us the way to flee from fear, by “standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9). Make The Lord your refuge. Run from fear straight into the safety net of His loving arms.
In these harrowing times, we need a safe place to run to, a shield from the fear that stalks us. Faith is our shield. Claim it. Raise it. Stand strong.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 – NIV
O Lord, You are with us and for us. Nothing can stand against. You are our Rock and Refuge, our ever-present help in times of trouble. We need not fear or worry for You are our shield.