As I prepare for yet another opportunity to deliver God’s message, I am tempted again to fixate on my inadequacies. How ironic that the first message I ever delivered in front of my fellow Christian Education classmates was on Moses's call (Exodus 3–4) and his focus on “I am not” rather than “you are God.”
I feel like I've done a bunch of things wrong lately. I feel like I’ve done something morally wrong. Like I’m a criminal, or a bad person. Like I’ve been caught with my hand in the cookie jar when I never actually put it in. Or accidentally put it in. The fact is I’m a rule follower and I don’t like looking bad.
“Getting rid of stuff makes me feel lighter,” my daughter-in-law said. Without thinking, I responded, “I don’t believe I’ll have the means to replace something if I let it go so I keep it just in case I might need it.” Even as the words were out of my mouth, my heart knew the truth. I still operate out of a scarcity mindset.
I received my Covid-19 vaccines with mixed emotions. Grateful for some form of protection while aware that absolute immunity is not guaranteed. Concerned about the possibility that I subjected myself to unnecessary risk, yet heartened by the prospect of mitigating it.
Conspiracy theories, alternate realities, rash prophecies, disinformation, and big lies are ancient techniques used to create fear—and subsequently claim the only solution to calm it—thus gaining followers. While disturbing in the sociopolitical sphere, I find these especially troubling when supported, spread, or believed by those representing Jesus. How do I respond? What do I focus on amid the myriad speculations, half truths and fake news?
Three weeks after we evacuated to Bali to escape the riots on Lombok Island, we returned to our home. On my desk I found my abandoned letter to my parents from January 17, the day the riots broke out. My last words on the unfinished page read, "We are not terribly alarmed, just being careful." I picked up where I left off.
"Wake up! Gather our belongings and meet in the hotel lobby!" Banging on the door aroused us from the beds we had just settled into. Frantically we followed orders and and joined our teammates and other guests to await our fate. There we received the news we had feared.
My devotional asks me, "What can I do to relieve the fears of others?" I am stopped short. I have been exacerbating fears, not relieving them.