So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)
God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. (Psalm 18:30-33)
Read: 2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19, Romans 8:9-25, Psalm 18:16-36, Proverbs 19:26
Relate: Last summer it seems like I had barely landed after returning from two weeks in America when the coup struck. This summer I once again have spent some time in America but it was by necessity rather than choice as I needed to get my visa issues worked out. I will actually be heading back this year and so I felt that instead of writing a new post for today I will simply repost what I wrote one year ago. Although I am in Gaziantep rather than Istanbul now, the sentiment and reality behind my writing have not changed.
It wasn’t the gunfire, or the shouting, or the twit-a-twit of helicopters flying overhead that woke me. It was the buzzing of my phone on the coffee table. I had drifted off to sleep while reading on my couch and that buzzing drifted me back into a state of semi consciousness. I ignored it. Then it buzzed again. I ignored it again. Normally, I am quite good at ignoring that thing but when it went off a third time in roughly a minute I figured somebody really needed me and rolled myself into reach of the stupid thing. I had a bunch of texts from more than a half dozen people. asking me if I was OK. One of them asked if I had been caught on the European side and needed a place to stay for the night. Suddenly I was sitting straight up wide awake. Suddenly the noises coming in through my windows and the open door to my patio started registering. I quickly typed out a facebook message that I was safe and then pulled up the internet to find out what was going on.
That is how I came to realize, this past Friday that there was a coup happening in my back yard in Istanbul. A little more than two weeks before that I was in Ataturk Airport for a very brief flight home. To fly home I had to pass right by where two of the three bombs had done their damage less than 48 hours earlier. (Actually, I was returning to Istanbul from Izmir earlier on the day of that attack but I did so by bus not plane.) Neither of these circumstances had me scared. The only time I was truly scared this past month was when I was flagged and questioned for about 4 hours by US customs at JFK. Even then, I wasn’t scared for my safety, I was scared that something was going to happen where they were not going to let me return to Turkey.
React: Someone told me recently that I was weird. They meant it in a good way, sort of. They were trying to say that I just don’t register fear the way normal people do. Of course I don’t. I’m a Christian. When God’s spirit took up habitation in my life fear was evicted. Does that mean I don’t get afraid? No. I do. The things that scare me are just different. I fear that I won’t live up to the calling God has on my. I fear that my own sin and stupidity will get in the way of the huge task God has. I am meeting people all the time in situations where I might be the only presentation of the gospel they will ever have. I fear that my flesh will step in and make that presentation inadequate. As long as I am in His hands, I know that I am secure. As long as I am walking in His Spirit my steps are sure. I fear that, all too often I am walking my own way instead. That is something worth fearing. Death? That’s just an express ride to the top floor.
For those times I have stepped out of Your will because of fear, forgive me. For those times I have not spoken fully or represented You adequately because I was far too concerned with what others thought of me, forgive me. Thank You for confirming to me time and time again that I am right in the center of Your will. Help me to always put Your will and Your Spirit’s leading far ahead of fleshly concerns like safety. As long as I am in Your will, I know I am protected. I am not alone. I pray that You would use my life, and one day my death, to bring You glory.