The seasons are changing here in Chicago. The trees are nearly bare—the ground covered in browning leaves. Last week, the sun warmed our city to nearly 75 degrees, and the next day, gusts brought in a cold front. Today on my run, the wind chill dipped to 19 degrees, and my face actually went numb.
And as these season change, my city is grappling with rising COVID-19 cases and the fear of what the holidays could bring. The same things that have held us hostage all year continue to hold us more and more. I’m not here to comment on the social and political climate of our country. Enough voices are already doing that on social media and in our social circles. Whether you agree with one side or the other, the truth is both are afraid. Both fears losing something. Both fears the other. And both are clinging so tightly to what seems right and good and true.
Choosing Courage Again
Over the last two years, I’ve spent a crazy amount of time thinking about and talking about bravery. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be brave—stepping into places that make me feel awkward or uncomfortable. And over time, it’s felt easier. It has felt slightly safer to step into these places. Things that were once crazy uncomfortable lost a bit of their sting, because courage is something we exercise and work at.
But now—like right now—I’m in uncharted territory in more ways than one. I feel like the tiniest kid standing at the edge of the most intimidating, large, imposing forest. Paths cut through the brush and lead a hundred different directions. And at some point, I have to step. I have to make a decision. I have to step into this new space.
Turns out, these spaces are no longer awkward or uncomfortable.
They are just scary.
Can I get an amen? Or am I the only one experiencing this kind of reality.
Standing at the Edge of the Unknown with I AM
I think many of us find ourselves standing in front of something that feels scary and unknown and full of paths that could lead us in a hundred different directions. Some will be dead ends. Some just might take us to the place we were always meant to walk in. But our feet won’t move forward. We feel stuck. The soles of our shoes plant themselves into the ground we stand on, and we forget that this earth—this dirt and soil and land—is holy, created by Abba, Father.
We stare up at the giants in front of us and gawk at their size and and turn our head back and forth trying to take it all in. We spend all our time talking about the paths, the questions we have, the uncertainty we feel, the fear, the anxiety, the very real, very human emotions and thoughts and doubts we face.
We’re like the Israelites staring down Goliath—too caught up in the giant ahead to notice the Father towering over him. And in these moments, I believe the Father whispers to us in that still small voice He used with Elijah,
Eyes up here.
Above Goliath’s head.
Through his lifeless soul.
He is a breath.
I AM the wind.
Let me carry
your fears and doubts
your questions and unknowns
Let me carry you.
In these days of a thousand unknowns, Goliath stares us down. A million trees and obstacles and questions block our path or make the way confusing and intimidating. But towering far above it all is the Father, the Holy Spirit—the wind that blows these temporary days into history.
That’s not to make light of the challenges we all face right now. Believe me, that’s the last thing I want to do. My friends and family and neighbors across the entire world are facing seemingly insurmountable situations. Mentally and emotionally, the human race feels so vulnerable—rubbed raw in a thousand different ways by 2020, by the election, by hard decisions and conversations and restrictions. Most of us are staring down some kind of giant; we’re standing at the edge of a dark, imposing forest. We have to acknowledge this reality. We can’t ignore it or the thoughts and emotions coursing through our body.
But long ago on a battlefield in the Middle East, a giant towered over an entire people group. He held his sword, ready to destroy. His words were vicious. There was no way around him. There was no escaping him. And an entire population who knew the goodness and love and miracles of their Father couldn’t see past him. This imposing, terrifying, very real threat blinded them so much that they missed the presence of the One who’s already won.
But this doesn’t have to be your story or my story.
Friend, eyes up. Above Goliath’s head. Through his lifeless soul. He is a breath. Your Father—I Am—is the wind. Let Him carry your fears and doubts and questions and unknowns. Let him carry you.
Don’t let fear win this day.
Our Father is not done yet.