“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
for he acknowledges my name” (Psalm 91:14 NIV).
I sipped tea while looking at a frog––he’d caught my eye when I glanced across the room. There he sat on top of my lamp. I couldn’t stop my lips from turning upwards––then a burst of giggles. Memories returned of frogs on an eerie night in a foreign field––actually miles of fields around the little mud house we called home for a while. Unlike my ceramic frog atop the lamp that held the lampshade from going ajar, the frogs that night were real.
We’d arrived at the mission school to join the staff after less than a month in Bolivia. We’d lived for a time in the attic/guestroom of the school library, and then prepared to move to the “farmhouse.” Before you form the image of a sweet stateside farmhouse, let me paint a picture of this “farmhouse” in Bolivia.
The school rested on a flat landscape atop a valley. A short walk on a winding dirt road brought you to a curve where a breath-taking panorama of acres of fields came into view. At the bottom of the hill sat the “farmhouse” that we had eagerly awaited to inhabit. There it sat, a little mud house in the middle of nowhere. Our barrels hadn’t arrived from the States so many household items were on loan to us, but we needed a refrigerator.
My husband left for the city eight hours away to buy a frig, leaving our five-year-old daughter and me alone in that tiny house. Our son had settled into dorm life with boys his age, and we quickly became good friends with his dorm parents––also recently arrived missionaries. So, no neighbors, no lights outside, and no way to communicate with anyone at the school.
On the second night alone in that secluded little abode, I heard a noise, a strange noise. The hour neared that the school generator would shut down, leaving only candlelight. The noise continued. I looked out the kitchen window where the sound seemed to be loudest. Pitch. Black. It resembled the sound of a motorcycle trying to start. After listening to that sound for what seemed like hours, my imagination kicked into high gear. What if there were more motorcycles than just one. Hell’s Angels came to mind. Could there be similar gangs in this remote area? Were they waiting for the generator to shut down to make their move? Fear took over. Who could come to our rescue?
Fear held me hostage. But, more scared for my daughter than myself, I had to get a grip. Couldn’t God take care of her––of us? We were in the youth of our ministry, and just as Timothy was in the youth of his life and ministry, the enemy certainly didn’t want him (or me) to continue spreading the gospel. This would be the first time I confronted my fears on the mission field, but not the last––if I were to continue in the ministry God called me to.
Scriptures came to mind. Why did Paul write this to Timothy? “I call to remembrance the faith that is in you…” (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV). Paul encouraged Timothy by reminding him of the faith he’d seen in him. Maybe that statement today would sound like, Hey, Tim, you can do this!
Paul reminded him, “to stir up the gift of God in you through the laying on of hands,” (2 Timothy 1:6 NIV). Go get ‘em, boy! I remembered hands laid on me only a few months before this night. And, then these powerful words of exhortation to Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy1:7 NIV). Fear paralyzes our ministry. Faith in God powers our ministry. Believe. Pray. A calm settled over me. I trusted God to take care of us. Peace.
Then, a knock at the door. I inched to the door. A familiar face looked back. It was our son’s dorm parent, Mike. My sweaty hands turned the doorknob. Telling him my scary story, he took his flashlight and ventured out into the darkness returning quickly. Nothing. But there was a noise. We both listened intently. “There, do you hear it?” Mike burst into laughter, then trying to control himself but to no avail. What on earth was so funny?
“Those are frogs making that sound.” No way! Eventually, I found the humor in it all, but with a bit of embarrassment.
Gathering my dignity, I asked Mike, “Do they have little motorcycles?” We both burst into laughter until our eyes wept.
Do you know what I learned that night? I learned that God is always with us and never leaves us alone. He watches out for us and rescues us–-even from frogs with little motorcycles.
There will always be fears to face, but when we trust God, He will take us from fear to faith. He promises to rescue us. What are your fears today? Will you let God stretch your faith in whatever circumstance you find yourself? We can go from fear to faith daily and stir up the gift of God in us so that He can use us for His purpose.