I don’t really like being afraid.
You know that feeling that you are not in control of what is either happening around you or what might happen to you. From what I see in God’s Word, we have no need to be afraid.
“Be anxious for nothing…” and “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind,” both sound fine and dandy when things are going the way I want them to go, or the way I think they should go.
We touched a little on my “overheating” challenge in the Sudanese SPLA division military compound in our last month’s newsletter. If you will bear with me, I’m pretty sure that I need to share, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”
I’ve lived in the hot Arizona desert for most of my life.
I know what hot is!
I’ve experienced it in many ways from almost blistering my feet on hot pavement, to having to drive with gloves on because the steering wheel feels like a branding iron on my hands.
As a college student, I carried hundreds of pieces of sheetrock in the intense Arizona summers. But the heat in that tin roofed, closed in mud walled, dirt floor Sudanese church…now that is real heat.
Heat like I have never experienced.
Mud-walled church building on military base.
Steve Evers training leaders and pastors inside the mud-walled church building.
Allow me to help you experience it! Unless you live in the warmer climates, this description will not really work for you. You cooler weather people just go turn your oven on and crawl inside for two and a half hours with no air flow.
For the rest of you, wait for the hottest day that you can remember in a very long time, put a tin shed up in your back yard with no shade at all, wait for the sun to be directly over head, go inside with 100 of your new Sudanese buddies and shut all the doors and windows. Then with great animation, attempt to teach for over two hours.
Even as I write these words, I know they are incapable of sharing how hot it can get in Sudan.
Well, the hotter I got the more anxious I got. With three more hours of training to go and no where - and I mean absolutely no where - to cool off, I was lightheaded, dizzy and hot.
A mango tree’s shade improved things, but not much.
As anxiety progressed to fear, I realized in my spirit that the One who gave up the comfort of the Father’s side to live in the heat of the middle east and die a painful death for me, was urging me to take a good long look in the mirror.
Of course I didn’t hear an audible voice, how could I, there were hundreds of children running around, playing and watching this crazy mzungu (African term for white person) wet himself down with a bottle of water and a wash cloth.
Nonetheless, I knew that He was exposing something in me that needed to be brought to the surface.
He started out, “Steve, what are you worried about? Don’t you know that ‘perfect love casts out fear’…and if you are afraid, you don’t really and completely understand my perfect love for you.”
He then shared with me that in truth, I have relinquished a good bit of what I used to try to control. We have even made pretty good progress in many areas.
But that is not enough.
There still is that small part of me that wants to have a “plan B” just in case God doesn’t handle things the way I think they need to be handled, and I need to take over and “help” Him out.
What a silly and misguided belief to hold on to!
In this situation, I didn’t have a plan B. Stranded forty miles from any possible means of cooling off and an ever increasing sense that my body temperature was continuing to rise, I was past “just anxious” and well into a good case of fear.
He let me stew in my fear just to make sure I got a full distasteful mouthful - for my own good. He later reminded me about these three guys in the Bible that had a small challenge of getting too hot; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
“Don’t you think they had a big problem with some intense heat, and wasn’t I big enough to take care of the heat and them? Can’t I take care of you and your little ol’ heat problem?”
“Yes, Lord - Yes, Lord!”
During an approaching storm an eagle knows to fly to some high place where, when the stormy wind begins to blow, the eagle opens its wings so that the wind will pick him up and push him high above the storm.
The eagle glides effortlessly above while the storm rages below. The eagle has not escaped the storm, but has simply used the storm to lift himself higher. The storms of life will always come, where do you spend your “storm time,” down where the storm rages or being lifted above, resting in our Father’s plan?
In His service,
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 12 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.