But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Let’s talk about mountain lions. I grew up in a town where it was common to see them on trails so, from the time I was young, I was taught what to do if you see one.
You don’t run (it will chase you). You don’t ignore it or turn your back (it will continue to stalk you). You don’t hide or lay down (it will attack you). No, you turn and look it in the eyes. If you have a jacket you put it over your head to make yourself appear larger. You speak firmly to it and maybe even get on someone‘s shoulders.
You face it until it leaves.
Sometimes I feel like Fear is a mountain lion. It’s been stalking me on the trail for quite some time, and I’ve hoped that by ignoring its presence it might go away. But I can feel it there, always a few steps behind me. It’s golden eyes and soft steps make my stomach tight and my heart quicken.
Recently I heard God say, “it’s time”—time to turn and look it in the eye. To face the Fear that has been haunting me. To stare it down, to raise my arms high up towards heaven for strength I don’t possess on my own, until IT flees.
Yet it’s so much harder than I could ever have imagined to face and conquer Fear. I’m not sure when I gave it so much room in my heart, but some days it knocks me out from the moment I open my eyes. I imagine it was little choices to run or cower in its presence. “I’m afraid so I won’t drive today.” “I’m afraid so I’ll order groceries online instead.” “I’m afraid so I’ll walk off stage to feel safe.”
And suddenly I’m living in a tight little world because barely anywhere feels “safe”.
Yes, God whispers to us all “it’s time!” Maybe your mountain lion is Fear. Or maybe yours is Sin or Anger or Unforgiveness you’ve let stalk you for too long. Yet the challenge to you and I is the same: can you turn, can you reach your arms towards heaven, and can you face that thing—look it right in the eyes—until it stops holding power over you—until it flees?
It’s difficult and scary. Some days it feels impossible. But we have the Holy Spirit and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead available to us—living in us. We can do hard, even impossible, things. The only way to deal with a mountain lion is to face it.
Written by Hilary Flook-Jurekovic
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
I have often heard this verse quoted and many have memorized it as a type of formula. People suppose it’s about the numbers, “two or three,” but the Greek implies that it’s more about being in agreement, praying in His name.
As you can probably tell from the spelling, this is the origin of our English word, symphony, a word that means to be harmonious, or to agree. The definition gives the idea that we as His instruments are not only to be in tune with each other, but in the key of our Great Composer’s choice. Being out-of-tune produces nothing but discordance, but as we gather around Him, and play (or pray) in harmony, our eyes on Him as He conducts, He will orchestrate a beautiful, God-glorifying work.
Written by Neil Godding