Anyone spending much time with me in a car will discover one of my greatest fears: I am terrified of my shoulder seat-belt locking. You know that moment where you try to move but find yourself strapped to the back of your seat in the car? That’s what I’m talking about. It may seem silly to you but the tightness across my chest is enough to send me into a blind panic. For those of you who’ve seen me flailing about as I struggle to free myself and assumed that I was merely being melodramatic, that wasn’t the case. It takes all that I have not to hyperventilate or cry. I usually laugh to cover my embarrassment. Who panics over a seat-belt?
After almost a decade of frantically reaching for my buckle I’ve come the realization that my habitual fear of my seat-belt is wrong. Not only is it ridiculous for me to profess faith in God and fear being strapped inside a car, my giving way to fear is sin. As I reached for the radio yesterday and found myself locked in the Holy Spirit brought the words from Isaiah 43:5 (which I had read earlier that day) to mind, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you…” Tears burned my eyes as I slowly released my breath and rested my head against the seat. “You are with me.” Such a simple prayer, barely whispered, yet allowing me to take hold of reality. He was with me. The same power that raised Christ from the dead was able to deliver me from fear right there in my driver’s seat. I have nothing to fear in life, in death or when trapped by my seat-belt for I am His and He will not forsake me. I’ve placed a post-it on my dashboard that reads, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” My prayer is that the next time I find myself locked in I’ll be reminded of His presence and trust Him.
As I type this, pictures of the devastation in Haiti after the recent earthquake fill the side of my computer screen. It’s awful. Heartbreaking. I can hardly bear to look. Sorrow, despair and anger rise up within me and tempt me to ask, “God, why?” My mind pictures that yellow post-it on the dashboard. “I am with you always.” He has not abandoned His people or His purposes in Haiti. Even as the tears fall I know that He is there. And so tonight I pray that- in Jesus- the people of Haiti would know that He is with them, that He is for them.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10
For those of you who would like to donate toward relief efforts in Haiti but aren’t sure where or how to do so: http://www.mohhaiti.org/