Being shaken from a deep slumber by the sounds of gunshots is certainly not a sound anyone expects. Was I dreaming or was it real? Then I heard the sirens. Are they coming this way? Where are my glasses? Is the kiddo ok? Honey, did you hear those big bangs? Gunshots.
Certainly not a sound I would ever expect to hear in our quiet little cove, hidden away in suburbia. Our quiet little cove, where the neighbors all know one another. Where we still wave at each other when coming and going. Where no one worries about their kids playing in the yard, or the speedy walkers making their laps around the neighborhood before the dew burns off in the morning sun.
It was 2:45am as my husband and I were jolted from our slumber by the sound of gunshots. We spent the first 17 years of our married life in a less than desirable neighborhood, where we might not have been so stunned by such sounds. But here? This certainly can’t be happening.
Quite simply a neighbor had a party for his birthday. He’s an upstanding, professional man I’ve known for several years. Certainly not the type person who you would expect to hear any sort of craziness from, and certainly not in the wee hours of the morning. As he explained to us when he and his wife came to apologize for such a disturbance, it was behavior that caught him off guard as well. Apparently a dispute between men over a woman. An altercation occurred. Someone got angry and shot up a couple of cars. Praise God no one was hurt…or worse!
The specifics of the crime have no bearing on the lesson that God was teaching me. So I will not weight you down with the details. Rather, let me share with you how our Lord that makes all of the difference to the situation.
Do you know that the God has told us 365 times in the Bible that we should not fear? God knew we would need a daily reminder, and He generously provided one. Over and over again in scripture the Lord tell us “fear not”. Isaiah 41:10 is my favorite instance of His mighty reassurance. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
While God so graciously provided us such promise, my heart…my soul hand not always taken that to heart. I’m the kind of girl who typically panics. In my younger years, had a 2:45am situation occurred, I would have immediately feared. I have witnessed things like this before. I’ve felt paralyzing fear before. Fear that my safety and the safety of my family was in danger would have consumed me. Yet on this night, or shall I say early morning, fear was not washing over me.
My first reaction was prayer. Y’all, this is a pretty big deal. Since I’m a panic based person, I have typically come apart at the seams, and sought out friends and family to reassure me as to my safety. This night was different. This night I was finally able to do something that I had previously fallen flat on my face in trying to accomplish. This night, I remembered my commitment I had made in Bible study two weeks previous. I was going to do better at remembering to trust God, and pray first…not last.
“Dear Lord, please let everyone be safe. Lord, please provide protection. Be with us Lord. Amen.” Not it wasn’t an eloquent prayer, but it was real. It was my prayer as I was reaching for my glasses on the bedside table, prepared to run to the other side of the house to check on our son. It was my prayer as I stumbled across the house in my blurry eyed, wild haired, mismatched pajama attire. All the while, a mighty calm in my spirit prevailed.
There was no need to fear. My family was safe. Now, were my neighbors? Police presence in our quiet little cove was overwhelming. Crime tape was being run from my mailbox across our narrow street to the neighbor. What on earth was happening? My husband and I opened the front door, and saw a police officer approaching our yard. I calmly…yes calmly asked the office what had happened. He asked what we had seen and heard, then explained that he was going to investigate. No one was injured. Only property…praise God.
It was then that this panic driven woman remained calm. Now, don’t get me wrong. I stood with my neighbors in our front yards watching and listening to what was going on. I was concerned, and wanted answers. What I wasn’t, was afraid.
Now, this blurry eyed chick is one who loves sleep. Needless to say, I’m not an overly reflective person when jolted out of bed by some knucklehead. So, all of the ways God has answered my prayers never made a mighty impact on me until this evening. Oh, but tonight it all washed over me. Our God is a mighty Savior! Y’all, He has changed me from the inside out! Once panic-stricken, and controlled by fear I now find peace and comfort in our Lord. He is in control.
As my husband and I talked through all that had occurred in the past 24 hours, I realized all that has changed in my life over the past few years. You see, even if someone had been hurt or worse…I know that God is in control. I realized through this incident that its not just head knowledge. Oh sister, it’s heart knowledge! My spirit knows our Mighty God is in control.
Dear one, I pray that if you are paralyzed by fear and worry, that you will put your faith in God. I pray that you will call out to the Lord, and ask Him to rid you of fear. He hears your prayers dear sister! Oh, and best of all…He answers those prayers. How? Well, Just as He said in Isaiah 41:10, He will strengthen you and help you. Even greater than that, our God will hold you close with His mighty and victorious right hand. God didn’t create us to walk through this life without Him. When we reach out to Him, and when we take hold of His right hand, He firmly holds back and never let’s go. That dear sister changed my life. I pray it might change yours.