Today we welcome Margaret Kemp to share one of her traveling experiences that turned her eyes of fear into eyes and heart that trusts God. He is our refuge and our strength; an ever present help in time of trouble.
That’s what I wondered when I found myself walking down unfamiliar streets late at night.
The sidewalk was almost deserted as my husband and I traveled in the darkness towards our hotel. Earlier, we’d brushed shoulders with others strolling the banks of the river: couples walking hand in hand, groups of boisterous young people returning from the bars and cafes, sidewalk bouquinistes locking up their books and art prints inside the green painted boxes. Tourists as we were, we’d stopped to admire the city’s illuminations and to photograph the glimmers of light on the water.
But we’d lingered too long, and once we reached the metro station, we discovered a metal gate blocking our access. We’d missed the last train.
I glared suspiciously at the occasional passerby smoking a cigarette. Why was he out so late? (Why were we out so late?)
And the pair of men deep in conversation in an unfamiliar language…what were they conspiring?
Did the pickpockets work this late at night? I clutched my purse tighter.
Why did I wear heels?
Was it dangerous to walk the streets at this hour? I was a visitor in town; I didn’t know.
Then I remembered who was walking alongside me (besides my husband, of course). The Commander of Angel Armies was my Companion. So, while it was a good idea to be observant of my surroundings, I needn’t fear. God walked beside me. He went before me. He had my back.
“The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.”
I wondered how far my little legs could carry me. Just as I began to doubt I had the physical stamina to reach our destination, God provided a way home.
A young man on a bicycle taxi stopped to ask if we wanted a ride. We gladly hired him to carry us home.
When I couldn’t go any further on my own power, God provided a way. It’s been like that throughout my life. God has walked beside me through uncertain times. And when I couldn’t walk another step, He carried me.
Fear fences us in, but faith frees us to delight in the Lord.
As a young child, I was taught that the world is a dangerous place. I needed to be wary, to take precautions. As an adult, I continued to expand my catalog of Things to Fear, and in the course of my life I encountered Frightening Things I hadn’t even thought to include in the catalog. Fear is still a real opponent I battle.
How many potentially delightful days have been spoiled because we allow fears to fence us in?
Fear still tries to bully me, but I’m getting better at confronting it. When I feel Fear closing in, I stop and take a deep breath before responding.
Is the threat real or imagined? If the threat is imagined, I need to look Fear in the eye and call its bluff.
If the danger is real, before I do anything else, I stop and pray, trusting that the God of Angel Armies has my back.
I talk to God about my problem, asking if there are any steps I need to take to deal with the problem.
Get more information? Make an appointment? Ask for help from friends or experts? Devise a plan?
If Fear still attacks, I recite Scripture. The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, is a powerful weapon. (Eph. 6:17)
And I remind myself the God of Angel Armies goes before me. He walks beside me. He’s got my back.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah.
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of host is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Come. Behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
The Lord of hosts (angel armies) is with us:
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
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