Monthly Archives: April 2015

Fight or Flight

Elephant Family by Michael North Imagery (Used with permission)

Elephant Family by Michael North Imagery
(Used with permission)

FIGHT OR FLIGHT?

Medical science tells us that when we face a situation that fills us with fear, our body pumps adrenalin into our system and we will do one of two things. The adrenalin rush will cause us to either “fight” or take “flight”.  You see fear is a natural emotion that can be good when used for protection but debilitating when we allow it to control us.

Let me share a humorous example from our missionary days in Rhodesia. (Zimbabwe)

Glyn and I joined my parents and my two younger siblings, Henry and Carolyn, for a vacation at Wankie (Hwange) Game Park. We had been out viewing game for most of the morning and came back to camp at mid-day. I was expecting our first child, so chose to lie down and have a rest. Glyn, Henry and Carolyn decided to go back out. Later, the heat of the day was waning, so many of the wild game were moving about. On their drive back to camp they came across a huge herd of African buffalo; these are animals you do not want to pick a fight with! They sat quietly in the car just watching muscles ripple and mesmerized by the surly looks the huge male “guards” of the herd were giving them. After a while the herd became restless so Glyn slipped the car in gear and eased away on down the dirt road. The road snaked its way through the bush; as they came to a rise the road sank down into a gully and then back up the hill. They saw a herd of elephant close to the road at the brow of the hill. Down they went into the gully and then eased their way up the rise to get closer to the feeding elephants. Suddenly without warning, a mother elephant with a baby exploded out of the herd, trumpeting, flapping her ears and ready to “fight” with these intruders who might harm her baby! There was no question in Glyn’s mind what he was going to do – he chose “flight”! Quick as a flash he threw the car in reverse and as fast as he could go, he reversed back down into the gully and up the hill. His driving skills in reverse were heightening by the rush of adrenalin which told him to choose “flight” and not stay and “fight” the protective Elephant mother! Wise choice I might add!

We can identify with fear so much in life today. We are fearful of losing control or fearful of the unpredictable. We become fearful of the unknown and of the future. The turmoil raging in this present day is creating much fear even in hearts of the children of God!

May I say the children of God should NOT be consumed by fear of what is to come to pass in this world!

Fear can hinder our judgment and potentially prevent us from moving forward to receive all that God has for us. After all, we know that God is in full control of the events unfolding in this day and age and He knows each one of His children by name; so we can trust Him!

I love the Book of Joshua because it is full encouragement not to be fearful in the face of the enemy!

Look with me at this passage of scripture:

Joshua 1:6-7, 9 “Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Now if these verses are not a faith booster then I don’t know what the doubters could ask for!

God was very straightforward and serious when counseling Joshua about fear.

Notice though, God used the phrase “do not be afraid” ONLY ONCE.

All other times, He chose to counsel Joshua with positive words like “be strong and of good courage” instead. The word “courage” means “to show one-self strong” or “to be alert.” Other words associated with courage are “brave, agile, quick and energetic.”  We tend to associate those words as personality types, not godly traits!  Yet if God commands us to be strong and courageous, then He desires all His children to have such attributes.

Now let me bring this pasage of scripture closer to home.

God gives us the SAME promises He gave to Joshua! Are you surprised?

Three times, the Lord told Joshua to be strong and of good courage. He then commanded Joshua to obey, while promising him that He would go with him wherever he goes….. And Joshua obeyed and trusted God’s Word.

So too; God tells us the same thing and He has given us the same promises!

Let me remind you of His words to us in Hebrews 13:5 which says; “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

What is the meaning of this verse? Simply, God promise is, that wherever we go God goes too.

He tells also us that all authority has been given to us through Jesus.

So what is causing us to “fear” in these end times?

What excuse do we have?

Are we as apt to be “agile, quick and energetic” as we saw Joshua to be?

We have no excuse to not receive all that God has promised us as His children.

We have no excuse to not fully believe His Word and study His Word and live out His will.

God told Joshua to be strong and courageous in taking the inheritance as well as in living according to God’s ways.

It takes courage to live for God and strength to uphold His commands. Both strength and courage are needed, to claim His inheritance and live in obedience to His Word.

What is stopping you?

Is it “fear” that is holding you back? Then ask Him to give you courage.

If it is apathy holding you back. Then ask Him to motivate you to be diligent.

Tell the Lord that you want ALL He has purposed in His heart for you.

NOTE: I said ask God for HIS PURPOSES for your life not your GREED!

Tell Him that you do not want anything to separate you from His will, including yourself.

Tell Him to help your unbelief and empower you to push forward.

You might be thinking as you read this Nugget; “Why should I tell the Lord anything, after all He can read our thoughts!” The scripture teaches us to ASK God- He desires to hear our voices!

John 15:16 (NKJV) “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”

What a glorious promise!

And remember; “do not be afraid for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Photo Credit: Michael North Imagery – used with permission.

 

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Rhodesian Reflections – No Regrets, No Turning Back

 

RHODESIAN REFLECTIONS – NO REGRETS

Gobatema Mission-1944 My parents Willard& Florence Wilson, Suzanne and me.

Gobatema Mission-1944 My parents Willard& Florence Wilson, Suzanne and me.

It has been said the there are two things you can count on in life; death and taxes. Well I would like to add a third thing you can count on and that is CHANGE! Last week I discovered some treasured pictures of my parents, Willard and Florence Wilson, taken in 1939 at Gobatema Mission, which in those days was in Southern Rhodesia, Africa

It set me thinking about the quantum leap they took when they left the comfort of the family farm in Mars Hill, Maine (USA), boarded the ship and set sail for Africa. Two young missionaries with a son barely a year old, setting their faces to an unknown land in response to the “call of God”. They had no visions of grandeur, no pre-conceptions of a life of luxury; just two humble hearts with a passion burning in their souls to touch the un-reached tribes in Africa with the good news of the Gospel.

Follow me as I reflect on what it was like in those years of being Pioneer missionaries……………

Imagine what a struggle it must have been for my young parents arriving from the frigid climate of Northern Maine and making that torturous month long journey over dirt roads, in the oppressive heat while trying to care for a 12 month old baby.

There was no “quick stops” to get supplies on that long trek………..

There was no safe water to drink,everything had to be boiled………..

There were no disposable diapers for their baby, so stops had to be made by running streams to wash the cloth diapers and baby clothing by hand……………

There were no comfortable Motels in which to lay to lay their weary heads at the end of a long day of travel………

There was malaria, dysentery and other tropical diseases to be wary of…………..

There were snakes, scorpions and dangerous wild animals to watch out for as they edged their way deeper into the African bush………..

Then added to all this there was the adjustment of cooking meals over a fire on the ground with stones placed to hold the pots, not to mention having to adjust to the foods that the indigenous people ate.  Plus trying to communicate with people whose language they did not understand!

I wonder if at any point in what seemed to be that never ending trek from South Africa to Southern Rhodesia; my parents might have had “second thoughts”. As, they could not have mentally been prepared for the hardships they were dealing with.

I THINK NOT!

How can I say this with such assurance? Because, once I was born, I witnessed with my own eyes that they were totally committed to the task no matter the hardship.

Now walk with me and feel the excitement rising in my parent’s hearts as they forged the Tuli River. Then the wagons and truck slowly made their way up the ascending four mile bush track to their new home- Gobatema Mission. Mission workers came running to welcome the new missionaries, many hands willingly helped unload the boxes, trunks and supplies and my parents stepped into their new home. An antiquated wood stove that had seen better days was the only sign of “civilization” in the dilapidated house. The cement floors were bare and cracked, plus the walls had cracks and probably had not seen paint in years. The bedrooms were no better but my parents set to work; sweeping out the hanging cobwebs and accumulated dirt from the floor and assembling makeshift beds for their first night. Then with the assistance of one of the resident missionaries wives; Mom wrestle some semblance of life into the old wood stove to cook their first meal, while Dad was lighting Hurricane lanterns for light. The Mission had no running water and no electricity – just the bare necessities for comfort. Yet mother told me that both she and Dad felt jubilant joy and gratitude that God had brought them safely to their destination. No pity party was going to be held in that humble home that night! No regrets, no turning back!

The years slipped by and the little family of three grew to five. My sister Suzanne was born in 1941 and then my parents were blessed with a fiery red-headed daughter (me) in 1944. Mother had her hands full but she took it all in stride. I remember her telling tales of trying to keep Suzanne in a home-made play pen with no floor in it. She would put the play pen on a grass mat in the shade of a tree while she was busy holding the morning clinic. Next thing she sees Suzanne, who now was walking, slip her legs between the slates of the play pen, stand up and off she went play pen in tow!

Gobatema Mission -1944 Suzanne, Drusilla and me

Gobatema Mission -1944 Suzanne, Drusilla and me

 

I presented new challenges for mother. I had the strong will that went along with red-hair plus as I grew I was fearless in exploring my world. She caught me one day trying to “scare” a deadly Cobra out of its hole with a stick! I collected bugs and an assortment of creepy crawlies and would happily race to wherever mother was to show her my latest trophy! Mother despaired that I would ever turn out to be a “proper lady” – I definitely was a child of the bush.

Once my brother Lawrence and my sister Suzanne were school age they had to be sent to the city of Bulawayo to attend Boarding School. Bulawayo was about a 100 mile drive from the Mission. I can only imagine the wrench it must have been to my parent’s hearts to leave their precious young children at a Boarding School, knowing it would be months before they would see them again. Yet they never complained about the hardships of life.

Once my elder siblings went to boarding school I became my Dad’s shadow or would go with mother on the long walks through the bush to visit villages in the surrounding area. These were my formative years – I only knew life on a remote primitive Mission Station in the bush of Africa and it was marvelous!

I would not trade the lessons I learned for anything this world could offer!

Our lives growing up were filled with laughter, excitement, challenges but most of all parents who were role models to us of finding good in the most difficult situations and radiating the love of God in all that they did. What a heritage they passed onto us children!

Now let me shift gears and ask you a question. How do you think Jesus felt when He left the glories of heaven to come to this world with all of its depraved humanity?

Do you think you He begged His Father to send someone else? I THINK NOT!

God’s only Son loved us so much that the Apostle Peter tells us that:

2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV) “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Walk with Him down the dusty paths of Galilee and see Him reaching out to the hurting masses……….

Watch Him holding the little children in His arms with such love and gentleness……

Feel His pain when He weeps at the grave of Lazarus because of the people’s lack of belief……….

Hear Him turn to the thief on the cross hanging beside Him and with what little breath was left say to the dying thief; “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43)

He poured out His love even while taking His dying breath.

Man tried to kill “righteousness” that day but even the grave could not hold Him.

My reflections in this Nugget remind me of the song writer Frederick M. Lehman when he penned these words in 1917:

The love of God is greater far

Than tongue or pen can ever tell;

It goes beyond the highest star,

And reaches to the lowest hell;

The guilty pair, bowed down with care,

God gave His Son to win;

His erring child He reconciled,

And pardoned from his sin.

Refrain:  Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—

The saints’ and angels’ song………..

Just as Jesus poured out his life willingly, my precious parents followed His example. They had NO REGRETS AND NO THOUGHTS OF TURNING BACK!

Pictures – My parents, Willard & Florence Wilson with Suzanne & me -1944

Picture # 2 Suzanne watching me and Drusilla -1944

Both pictures taken at Gobatema Mission, Southern Rhodesia, Africa