September 14, 2010
Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:1-3, NIV
Just like shark attacks, life attacks rarely give you advance warning that they're coming and getting ready to take a big ol' bite out of you.
Am I right or am I right?
Because when's the last time you got a "save the date" card in the mail for the next attack in your life? For the relationship blow-up you're about to have with a close friend? Or a bounced check that you thought you had enough funds for in your account? Or the car accident that came out of nowhere on your way home from the mall?
Earlier this summer, during the exact same week as Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" (I mean, what are the odds?), I experienced what I called "Attack Week" in my family.
My mom's home was burglarized. Then, we were heartbroken when another family member confessed to being a victim of repeated bullying at work. And at the same time, a dear friend's mother was in the last stages of dying from cancer. It was adding up fast and was almost too much to bear all at the same time.
"You know what?" I said to my mom, as we surveyed the aftermath of damage in her ransacked house, "Shark Week has got nothing on this week. What's a shark bite compared to everything that's attacking our family and friends right now?"
We chuckled a bit, and while it's true that a little levity can help in a tense and trying situation, we really were hurting.
As the days went by and we addressed each issue of "Attack Week," we also took time to count our blessings. Thank God my mother wasn't home at the time when her home was invaded and that the damage was not any worse. Thank God that my other family member didn't stoop to the level of who was doing the bullying, and instead turned the other cheek and handled the matter with class. And thank God that my friend's mother knew the Lord and knew where she was going when she would take her last breath and leave this earth.
If anything, "Attack Week" taught me to be prepared. At any given time, any of us could go through an "Attack Week" in our lives, and we must routinely check our foundations so that we will know if we are built on something that is steady and secure or if rot has taken over and everything is starting to crumble. When our faith is tested, it shows what we're made of, what we believe and in whom or what we put our hope and our trust.
In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced a pretty scary attack themselves: bow down to a 90-foot golden statue of King Nebuchadnezzar or get thrown into a fiery furnace.
Talk about a test of your faith! But these lads didn't seem to bat an eye and refused to serve Nebuchadnezzar or his gods. Well, that fired up the king and he immediately confronted them and gave them one last chance to bow or burn.
To which they replied:
"O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up" (Daniel 3:16-18).
Okay, so they didn't say that last part. But their response does demonstrate some serious faith. And even if God had not saved them (keep reading on in Daniel to see what happened!), he was with them in the furnace. He was there during this test of what they believed and during this attack.
While my family didn't face anything as scary as a fiery furnace during our "Attack Week," at times as we were picking up the pieces (Literally! There were a gazillion shards of glass from a shattered window where the burglars gained entry.) we felt like we were alone. But because of God's Word and his promises, we knew we were not.
Thanks be to God. He is with us. And we don't need to be afraid.
Intersecting Faith & Life: The Bible doesn't candy-coat it: there will be suffering in our lives on earth. And it's not if you will undergo attack in your life, but when. So how are you planning for the next attack? Or how can you help someone else who is undergoing attack today?