“Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I put my trust in thee.” KJV Psalm 25:21
Who has ever felt themselves standing on the edge of a place that felt unsafe? Who has mentally felt themselves close to losing grasp of their emotions? It can be frightening. During our first week living in Minas Gerais where I work in a missions ministry, we were excorted by a veteran missionary out to explore a beautiful area that has a deep canyon. We were accompanied by several people who had gone on hikes in that area regularly. It was a week of many “firsts” for us. Although it was exciting, it was also very intimidating and even terrifying in some aspects.
Finding a Safe Place
I had a choice to make. To collapse and give in to fear, or to step forward in fath and find my safe place in God’s will. In God’s will is the safest place to live.
Everyone makes their choice: to trust or not to trust.
After all, at the time I was a young mother with five children, ages two to fourteen, and had never traveled far from home or moved to a place so unfamiliar. The missionary friends wanted to take us on an adventure to let us experience what, for them, in times of feeling hemmed in by city life had been a refreshing escape. However, in our intial state of cultural shock and lack of experience, it felt extreme.
We felt unsure of ourselves out in this seemingly remote area with only a couple of new friends to guide us along the wilderness, nature trail. At one spot, the native Brazilians shared adventurous stories of their own exploits of diving from the cliff into the dazzling blue-green pools. The image of diving from that high cliff into the small pool of water far below seemed incredulous.
During the hike we were warned to beware of creatures along the scenic path that we had only seen in books and pictures. I scuttled my little two, four, and five-year-olds as far away from the edge of the cliff as possible watching every footstep for danger. After the long year of preparation for us to live and work there and the thirty-hour trip to move our family from North Carolina to Minas Gerais, Brazil, I pictured us arriving only to perish on our first excursion outside of the town. As overwhelmingly beautiful as the sights were, my nerves were too on edge to enjoy the journey. To top off my fear, the older missionary grabbed my two year old, lifted him on top of his shoulders, and walked to the edge of the cliff. Toppling over would mean certain death. I lost my breath. Fear shook me to the inner core. The older man, oblivious of my distress, looked back smiling to invite us to follow him.
Sensing my discomfort, my husband gently reached to gather our son back into his arms at a safer distance from the edge. It had been frightening, but we stayed calm and carried on. Life is often filled with similarly fear-inducing experiences in our lives. I have found that if I remain as calm as possible and replace my fear with trust in God, I do not have to yield to the churning inside that threatens to cast me over the edge of that unsafe atmosphere into the deep pit of insanity and restlessness.
Depression can also take the place of that fearful cliffside emotion that holds us out over a dark abyss. That, too, may leave us breathless and unstable as we try to regain balance. Broken or unhealthy relationships mascarade as unending nightmares casting their vicitms into despair. Whatever trial or sadness that may tempt your heart to feel victimized or damaged, dont give in to despair. Take a step back from the edge and realize that you can find a safe place and enjoy the rest of this journey we are on called life.
Holiday times that may be joyful for many can seem lonely and make others feel on edge. Current events may give us the “on edge” churnings of not knowing what will take place. Perhaps you are in a difficult season today that has to be faced to reach your destination. When I am faced with these unsettling emotions, it is helpful for me to remember reassuring times. Up on the cliff above the Lago Azul at Furnas on that day, I prayed for our safety and felt a loving Saviour’s arms reach out of gather us into his protection.
A verse that also helps in times of distress or fear is Isaiah 26:3 “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” KJV
Food for Thought
In this week of Thanksgiving, we can see the time when we felt like we were on the edge of insanity as burdensome cursed times; or, we can accept each experience on the journey as an opportunity to grow and something to be thankful for having survived.
We can choose to thank God for where we are at this moment in time. Be sure that there is a good purpose for your life and the path that you are on. The journey can be an experience of living in joy and peace.
On the other side of cliff’s edge in Brazil, there was an amazing view to behold. I had to reign in my fears and find myself in a safe enough position to enjoy the advantages of my adventure. Every day is a journey full of wonderous things! If you are feeling unsafe in the place that you are in today, remember that God wants to perserve you.
Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life; but with me thou shalt be in safeguard. 1 Samuel 22:23 KJV
Sometimes it feels like the pain in life has no end, but the love of God will sustain us, carry us through, and keep us from going over the edge because of all those things that threaten to destroy us.