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  • SHARI HALL

FAITH over FEAR


Credit: Purestock/Punchstock/Getty Images (MARS)



At the time of writing this post, I am fortunate enough to be sitting at a desk on the twentieth floor of a beautiful hotel on the stunning Gold Coast of Queensland Australia. My view is one of a slightly cloudy cornflower blue sky and a gently undulating turquoise blue expanse of ocean, with waves softly caressing the noticeably unpopulated sandy shores of the beach at Surfer’s Paradise.


From where I sit, I see sparse numbers of cars along the esplanade, most likely those heading to work or out for essential shopping, or perhaps even still, taking young children to school. Only rarely can I see isolated individuals or couples walking along the flat vacant beach, and even then, they are separated by metres between them, as they proceed on their morning walk or jog.


In what only weeks ago was a populated, thriving tourist community, bustling with trade, frivolity, and vacationers from all over the world, I now look upon what seems to be a very still, quiet, almost somber scene.  In a way though, there is something very peaceful about it all, and it puts me in an introspective, yet eerily calm space - one that invokes deep self-awareness and contemplation about what is happening in the world at this moment.


I am reflecting on something that happened last night, as my partner and I ventured out to purchase a take-away meal from the small, now financially struggling, Thai restaurant around the corner from our hotel. Only days before, they were filled with patrons, laughing, enjoying their Hot Chili and Basil Chicken dinner, surrounded by other customers enjoying the evening breezes while sitting at their outdoor dining tables. Now, there was only the two of us, placing our order from a lovely woman far behind the counter, and a few other passers by, searching for dinner from any of the closed-for-internal dining restaurants along the strip. 


The poor lady was describing to us how earlier that evening, some young person had run by her counter and stole the second last bottle she had of hand sanitiser that had been there for the public to use while engaging in payment for their dinner. It was sad to hear, and I just shook my head wondering, what were these young people thinking that they could do that? She had another large bottle, which she had just placed on the counter, again for the benefit of all her customers that evening depending on their continued operation for their dinner meals, and she was happy that she could provide that service. But wouldn’t you know, the minute she turned her back to go and retrieve our take-away order, another little hoodlum on a bicycle raced past and grabbed that bottle of hand sanitiser from her counter too, and speedily rode away, without looking back, without regret or remorse.


I couldn’t believe what had just happened, and turned to my partner nearly in tears, and said,


“What is happening here? I cannot believe what that young man just did!”


I immediately followed that up with,


“I think anyone who is caught stealing from another human being in this crazy time should be incarcerated! That is unforgivable.”


Because English is not my partner’s first language, he actually thought I meant “beheaded” instead of jailed! We laughed together as I explained I didn’t believe anything as harsh as a beheading was called for, but I absolutely believed that the young lads blatant disregard for the common good, his selfishness and sense of "me first" self-preservation should not go unpunished. 


Yet, as I am sitting here quietly alone this morning, and revisiting the event from last night, I have a different outlook, as many of us do when we have time to think about how we respond to a particular situation in the moment, rather than react spontaneously and with deliberate thought, to what is happening before our eyes.


As I watch the one or two people stroll in isolation on the empty beach far below, as I look upon scattered humans sitting on their balconies, alone, at the adjacent high rise hotels, as I look at the calmness of the ebb and tide of the waves, as I feel the warm breeze coming through my open window, allowing me to feel connected with the air, the nature surrounding me, the universe of which I am part, I feel empathic and understanding of what that young man on the bicycle may have felt last night.


He was afraid.


These are frightening times for many of us. We are seeing an unprecedented period of social distancing and isolation, massive shut downs of businesses, universities, retail stores and offices, group meetings, non-essential services, gyms, restaurants, and more, and people are scared.


I’ll confess, that for one tiny moment yesterday, as I was alone in my hotel room waiting for my partner to arrive home from work, it all just felt too overwhelming for me. I felt my heart racing, my mind spinning, my hands shaking, and my body sweating over the thoughts of the thousands of “what ifs” running through my head. There was so much uncertainty, So much instability. So much concern for my children, my family members overseas, my friends all over the world, my personal health and welfare.


But it only lasted a moment, because I reminded myself of one, very very important thing…


I am a believer. 

I am a child of God.

I have faith in what is, now, at this moment, happening in my life and the lives of all other human beings on this planet. 

I believe in the universal cosmic intelligence that governs us all.

I believe in our wholeness and connectedness as ONE being, not many isolated, individuals.

I believe in our collective consciousness, and relationship to each other.

I believe in love.


“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.” 

(2 Tim 1:7, NKJV)


There are a hundred different verses of scripture I could quote to you in this moment, and dozens more that I read last night and this morning that brought me back to a sense of peace inside. With absolute certainty, I know that things will be just as they were meant to be. I understand that there is a plan in force that none of us can ever fully comprehend or control. While I am not fatalistic, and I do believe we are creators of our own reality on a minute to minute, moment to moment basis, I also know, that there is a power, an energy, a force at work here much greater than any one of use could ever surmount on our own.


For those of you who are feeling afraid, alone, isolated, concerned, confused, doubtful, and panicked… please, slow down for just a moment. 


“Tell everyone who is discouraged, be strong and don’t be afraid. God is coming to your rescue…” (Isaiah, 35:4, 


Breathe in the morning air. It is fresh, clean, and life giving.

Enjoy the silence and isolation you may be currently subjected to, for indeed, it was alone on a hilltop that Jesus went to pray, so he could then go forward and heal the world, we all know, this world needs healing...


“The next morning, Jesus got up long before daylight, left the house while it was dark, and made his way to a secluded place to give himself to prayer.” (Mark 1:35, TPT)


“So he dispersed the crowd, said good-bye to his disciples, then slipped away to pray on the mountain.” (Mark 6:46, TPT)


“Jesus went up into the high hills to spend the whole night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12, TPT)


“...whenever you pray, go into your innermost chamber and be alone with Father God, praying to him in secret. And your Father, who sees all you do, will reward your openly.” (Matt 6:6, TPT)


Perhaps now is the time for all of us to simply BE with ourselves, to understand and know and learn who we actually ARE, the people we were meant to be and have not been. 


Perhaps now is the time to reconsider and re-evaluate your life, your focus, where your attention has been, and what your priorities have been, how busy we’ve all been, how disconnected we’ve been.


Perhaps now is the time to take a close look at our own behaviour and actions, our own contribution to the current state of the human condition.


Perhaps now is the time to collect our thoughts, construct our new mission, and come together in faith, and love, compassion and kindness for our Earth and our own humanity.


I know many of you reading this may not have ever read a word of the Bible. 


It’s ok. I get that. For years I was a self-professed atheist and hated using the word “God”. So I totally empathise. But if I may, since we all have time to do a little more reading these days, I’d simply love to refer you to one of my favourite books of the New Testament, for it clearly defines WHO God intended for us to be, who we are in His eyes, and what His intention for us, in this life, in this form, is...


Ephesians, 1-5, TPT, with particular attention to the following verses:


Eph 1:19

“I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to you through faith. That your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you!”


Eph 2:10

“We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it.”


Eph 4:4

Our Divine Calling: “As a prisoner of the Lord, I plead with you to walk holy, in a way that is suitable to your high rank, given to you in your divine calling. With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially towards those who may try your patience. Be faithful to guard the sweet harmony of the Holy Spirit among you in the bonds of peace, being one body and one spirit, as you were all called into the same glorious hope of divine destiny.”


as well as the teachings of Jesus, in His words...


The Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5 - 7, ESV


Let faith be stronger than any fear you may have. There is a plan and a purpose at work here far greater than we know or can understand. Cast all your worries, and anxieties and fears onto the one who can handle it all, for


"I leave the gift of peace with you - my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don't yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts - instead, be courageous!"

(John 14:27, TPT)


We are all going to be fine, including that little thief on the bicycle.

I have faith, and believe it to be so.

Stay well and healthy.


I love and bless you all,

Shari



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