My friend Wendy Tomin wrote a great blog about Fear recently; the kind of you-know-it’s-irrational-but-that-doesn’t-stop-it sort of fear. The kind of fear that might just have a little bit of truth in it, so therefore if it could happen, it probably will.
Or so your brain says.
So last night at 4.10am precisely, it was my turn.
I’ve had a bit of a funny week anyway, wrestling with a few things, but I dropped off to sleep and woke in the wee hours after a truly horrendous dream.
As my eyes adjusted to the dark and I dimly saw the time, relief flooded into my heart as I realised it was just a dream.
But the effects were powerful and I couldn’t go back to sleep…till into my mind popped, ‘Psalm 91’.
I know the contents of Psalm 91 very well. When I was a child, my brother and I both contracted a terrible virus. My brother (just a baby at the time) was hit particularly badly and had to be hospitalised. As the days passed, he was growing thinner and thinner and starting to look like a starved, neglected child. Our mum stayed in hospital with him and I remember one afternoon, after visiting hours, my dad took me home and leaving me tucked up on the sofa, disappeared into the kitchen. A short time later, I heard this determined, almost-shouting of scripture coming from the kitchen.
My dad, at the end of himself, no doubt feeling overwhelmed by the grim situation our family was facing, decided enough was enough.
He was NOT going to let this fear, this sickness, this anxiety take hold of his family and his home. He was loudly praying…claiming Psalm 91;
If you say, ‘The LORD is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, NO harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
You WILL not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
My dad has always described that time as the moment things broke.
Something changed, both in his fear and in the situation. My brother started slowly to get better, the atmosphere at home changed…the pestilence and the plague had gone.
And so last night at just after 4am, still trembling with the ferocity of the dream, I opened my Bible app and began to read out loud;
I will say of the LORD, ‘He IS my refuge and my fortress, my GOD in whom I trust.’
He IS my refuge. He is MY refuge. He is my REFUGE.
Did it fix everything? Did I feel better?
Well no, not really, I still felt unnerved and out of sorts, but I stake claim to the power of those words. I heard a song recently with the simple words; faith is stronger than you feel.
Words sometimes don’t feel powerful, they don’t feel like they’re doing any good, but when spoken with faith and God’s prompting, they DO have the power to reclaim lost territory, to change the atmosphere, to let the creator of disgusting dreams know that you won’t be hemmed in by this, that you DO have a refuge.
So as I walk into today, with the faintest ‘bad dream hangover’, I’m going to keep going back to Psalm 91;
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.