An eerie silence surrounded me and my heart quickened. The paint on the walls was curled and slowly falling off into piles on the floor. Remnants of school life and debris were scattered through the hallways and rooms. The wind began to blow through broken windows, causing book pages to flip and gentle knocking sounds in the distance.
I turned a corner and found…
… the creepiest thing I have ever seen (and further proof to me that baby dolls are indeed evil).
Good thing I skipped my morning coffee or I may have had an accident. It was all I needed to send me looking for ANYONE from our tour group.
It was about that time that my roommate discovered me and we laughed at how easily our adult selves had become so spooked in broad daylight.
There’s nothing quite like being alone in an abandoned building in a radioactive zone.Â
Call us brave or call us crazy, but we went on a tour of Chernobyl this past weekend.
Massive government cover ups. Needless loss of life. A man-made disaster that never should have happened. What else is there to say?
I’m thankful for the experience and thankful I never need to do it again.
Reflecting on this moment from the tour made me consider the power we give to fear.
God has a lot to say about fear, this spirit that comes against us and challenges our trust and faith in His goodness and trustworthiness.
- Deuteronomy 31:6Â Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
- Psalm 27:1Â The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?
- Romans 8:15Â For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “”Abba,” Father.”
And the list goes on.
I think God talks about fear so much because He knows how often matters and moments of this life will try to take our eyes away from Him and onto circumstances real or imagined.
The fear I felt Saturday came from a few too many horror movies and an overactive imagination, coupled with the very necessary respect for the danger radioactivity poses. As I walked alone through those halls, considering the condition of the building, my mind raced through all the possible unfortunate consequences. Thankfully, the worst I incurred was finding the creepy baby doll.
Some fears aren’t so easily passed off or laughed at though.
There has been a palpable fear in recent weeks in Ukraine with the knowledge that we have an enemy camped out on our borders making every day completely unpredictable. In reality life is always uncertain from our vantage point, we just don’t usually dwell on that fact every single day.
I have also been having a personal battle with fear as I pack my belongings to come to America. Huge transitions are unsettling and usually come with more questions than answers.Â In the waiting, I’ve allowed myself to listen more to the loudly clamoring voices around me than to listen to God’s still small voice.
Though all these fears are born out of different circumstances, each leads back to looking at the present/future and forgetting that God is already there and in control.
This requires humility to admit that we are neither able to see what lies ahead or to be in control of it, no matter how often we try to pretend and convince others and ourselves differently.
We must give up our illusion of control.
The beginning scenario I did have some control over. I could have chosen to never wander off in the first place. I sort of set myself up for that little heart racer. The other situations I have much less control over because I am currently where I feel God has called me and I also know this time of transition is part of God’s leading. In these things the only thing I control is where I place my focus.
How do we not give into fear when we are in control of so little?
God gently reminds us to keep our eyes on Him. To turn off the noise. To seek Him FIRST, instead of second or even last. He is where we find freedom from fear. In His love and in His trustworthiness.
It should be freeing to us to recognize the truth that we are NOT in control, but God IS. The Creator of heaven and earth.
Can you hear His whispered reminder that He was there in the past, He is here in the present and He will be with us in whatever is to come?
- Isaiah 41:10Â Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Philippians 4:6-7Â Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.