Last night I spent several hours awake gripped by fear and worry. While I have often struggled with worry, I do not often feel inhibited by fear. I am usually rather gregarious and willing to jump on a plane, a bus, a bike, whatever the adventure calls for. I am far more likely to pass up an adventure for fear of embarrassment than I am for fear of physical harm. The older I get, the more readily I sleep without concern for noises in the house, or concerns for personal safety. (I think this is in part because I have come to trust the wisdom of doing all that a person can do to be safe - lock doors, know your space, have emergency phone numbers, wear your seatbelt, etc. and past that to recognize the sovereignty of God.)
Last night I was gripped with an ominous foreboding. A fear of things that don't ever even cross my mind - silly things like losing a limb or car accidents or serious illness. Then, of course, it moved on to fear for my family, worries about getting home, concern for world events, etc. I recognize the power of night and darkness in confusing our perceptions and muddling our clear thinking. This was oppressive though. I spent several hours praying and listened to an 80 minute message by N.T. Wright twice. (That was a good thing, as I think I learned some apologetics I had not considered before.)
I don't know how to explain how oppressive this was. I thought several times of waking my roommate, of calling home...something, anything to reach out to someone else. I still feel groggy and hesitant today. Since daylight I have been trying to figure out what provoked these worries, these irrational, faithless concerns that caused me to shake with fear. These are the few conclusions I have reached:
1. Satan is attacking the JCS staff. I don't want to sound all Frank Peretti on anyone, but seriously, weird problems without apparent motives have been surfacing all over. The is a lack of willingness to take personal responsibility and a justifying of actions by misquoted biblical texts and the apparent blanket excuse of "I prayed about it". I think we can all fall prey to this kind of deception when we are under this much stress and confusion. 1 John talks about being in the light, and taking responsibility for our sins - asking forgiveness. I feel like many things here are in darkness. The need for secrecy in the body is a good example of darkness abiding, and when that is seen as normal and necessary, it makes me cringe for the evil we invite when we cloak our activities with darkness. But I also know that God is the one who brings things from darkness into light. (Job 12:21-23) And God has called us from darkness into light. (1 Peter 2:9). I do not quote these verses to imply that I am in the light, more to confess how often I find myself acting under the shadow of darkness, or of hopelessness and how urgently I desire the garbage to be scooped out of my soul and to be made clean by the purifying light of God's presence and love. But Satan, the father of lies, has been using the darkness here to his great advantage and turning believer against believer - making things that are circumstantial appear personal and blinding us to our true motives. It is painful and sad and humbling.
2. This past week was difficult. I had a difficult meeting on Wednesday which 'brought into the light' the inability for reconciliation to occur in some areas here. It grieves me, but still I have to check my own motives. I feel emotionally worn out and bleeding.
On Thursday we had a storm with power surges (apparently) and my computer power supply was fried. I hope that the computer itself was not damaged, but I will not know until I can obtain a new powersupply (which by God's grace will happen in the next week.) That same power surge, it appears, blew the compressor to our refrigerator. (Remember, this is the 3rd refrigerator we have had here.) So, no food - nothing that can spoil. No cold drinks, no jam even for peanut butter and jelly. We cannot keep leftovers and cannot have much fresh fruits or veggies (everything in our house molds so quickly.) It should not be a big deal, but it does really discourage on a daily basis.
On Friday a new and dear friend resigned her position at JCS. We NEED all the staff, and her leaving will be deeply felt. The amount of deception that occurred to let Satan pull this off has be baffled. We are one quarter from done with the school year and for the second time the administration has lost a math teacher. Something is seriously wrong. This is not how things are supposed to be done. Both of these math teachers were bilingual and knowledgeable. Yes, teaching at JCS takes some adjustment, but when personal grudges or preconceptions take the place of what is best for the students, it is hard to continue to respect those responsible for the lack of effective communication.
Yesterday (Sunday) I dropped the motorcycle in the road on the way to a friends house. I sustained a minorly skinned knee (Thank God I had on jeans!!!) and a bruised hand. The greatest damage was done to my ego, but I have to admit that I am in no hurry to get back on that horse (see again my normally gregariousness...this is unusual for me.)
I trust that God is good. That even if some great harm should befall me that He would be in control, but I felt last night that the angel of death was hovering at my shoulder or that the tribulation was upon me, and my ability to rationally and prayerfully consider things 'in the light' seemed to be withheld from me. In the daylight it should seem silly, but even so the fear lingers.
2 Timothy 1:7-10
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.