The mask I often wear says these words: Exhale fear, Inhale faith. When I found it, I bought it. I felt it was important for me to wear. Since, I needed the reminder.
I want to dwell in faith, but battle fear time and again. So, exhale fear. Let it go. Inhale faith, take it in.
Recently, I checked back to what Jesus had spoken to me on March 15, 2020. It was the first day of the lockdown. Church had been canceled in the building that day. My team at church had scrambled to create online worship in two days to reach into the lives and hearts of the people. And on that morning I received this word:
“Son, this world situation is not out of My control.
Enjoy the freedom and time off, I am providing. Awaken child to My love.
You are exactly where I want you to be.
Don’t fear the virus. It is not what it seems.
You are right: evil men are seeking control.
So, do not fear.
I’ve got this season and I’ve got you.
Remember how much I love you.
Dwell. Yes, ABIDE in My love.
…Enjoy being with Me. Enjoy.
Find My beauty, son. Remember, I’ve got even this.
Look for the opportunity to be.
Enjoy the chance to be alive.
Enjoy My love, Son.
Realize I am yet in control.
The world is not run amok.
There is evil seeking to thwart hope.
There is wickedness. But in Me you’ll always have hope.
Rest in My Love.March 15, 2020
March 23rd God began to wake me at 5 am each day to start writing 1000 words-a-day. During the following three months I finished my first novel Hello, My Name is Phillip. The last chapter of that book will be published here next week. Search for “Phillip’s Story” to read other chapters or get your copy on Amazon.
As I look at this word and all the commands within it —
Be, Rest, Trust, Do not Fear, Dwell, Abide, Look for opportunity, Enjoy
— I realize I have been blown off course time and again.
I began a weekly facebook post for a voice of encouragement within the pandemic. This changed to a weekly Bible story in June and has continued. So, I positioned myself to encourage others. Yet, if you read over all my posts from this year, (Try it if you want!), I struggled to remain encouraged myself.
I camped out with fear. I pitched my tent in discouragement. I did not fear the virus, but the efforts of the powerful to control others through fear of it. I did fear the vaccine, in contrast to all the people who told me of the sense of peace they felt when they finally got it.
I was like Peter who confidently got out of the boat to walk on water toward Jesus. I began well. I walked on the stormy seas of the pandemic, encouraging others. But also like Peter, I “saw the wind and sinking cried out, ‘Help, Lord!'” In that story (Matthew 14:30), Jesus caught Peter by the hand and said, “Oh you of little faith! Why did you doubt?” (Mt 14:31).
To have little faith is simply to have immature, small, or undeveloped faith. It is unfocused, or it is focused the wrong direction.
“Little faith” lets you take faltering steps upon the sea only, but is faith unfixed on Jesus. The wind distracts and you sink.
But Jesus caught Peter and also catches us in our littleness. In his loving humor, he says, “Why did you doubt?”
It’s a good question.
Why not rather inhale faith and exhale fear? Why doubt the good purposes of God? Sometimes a season feels long, but then I read of Moses’ 40 years of exile, David’s 13-ish years fleeing Saul, Joseph’s 20 years of bondage and life in a foreign land or Israel’s 400 years in slavery and realize a year plus is not very long.
Why did Peter doubt? The story says he “saw the wind.” What does that mean? One cannot see wind. So, what did Peter see? He could have seen the effects of the wind. And that means he was no longer looking at Jesus.
That was the problem. His “faith” shifted from Jesus to the wind and storm.
I was speaking to a good friend this week who said, “You know, I don’t really want to know any of the conspiracy theories. They don’t matter. The only thing which matters is this: am I walking by faith? This means, I seek to be obedient to Jesus. If he says ‘get the vaccine,’ then, in obedience I get it. But I have no peace in that idea. Jesus is saying not to get it. So, in obedience, I won’t get it.”
What I heard was how fixed my friend’s eyes were upon Jesus. He was walking on water. I loved how he didn’t care what anyone said about the vaccine. He only sought out Jesus. That conversation took me back to what Jesus had said to me, and I realized my eyes have not been so fixed. It’s about breathing — exhaling fear and inhaling faith.
The cool thing about Jesus is He sees and catches us. He saves us from the depths and laughs asking, “Why did you doubt?” Jesus does not say, “Hey, why didn’t you obey perfectly?” His mercies are new every morning. So, moment by moment we can be a people returning our gaze to Him. Learning to Be, Rest, Abide, and Dwell. Inhaling faith.