by Kayla Raymond
When I can’t sleep at night, my mind is usually cluttered with the day’s activities, tomorrow’s to-do list, or future ideas. When it’s raining, I think of the people sleeping in tents, wondering how do they do it? When the lighting strikes and the thunder roars, I think of the small children who have confessed to me that they think their small huts are going to tremble and fall in the storm.
Lately, though, in the middle of the night I have found myself awake, attentive to each and every sound. A fear has been instilled in me. The devil himself has found his prey.
These have been the last two weeks for me, a spiritual warfare I can barely win. I usually write with such confidence and speed. But with violence in our area, break ins and robbery at the school and just a different tone from people, my heart is beginning to skip different beats.
I’ve always felt so safe here, in this small corner of the world. The sad part is that no specific event has even happened to make me feel this way. I feel unstable even feeling this way. I’ve always proclaimed, “If this is where the Lord wants me, He will protect me.” Then why can’t I close my eyes at night?
I asked the Lord to speak to me. Have power over these fears. And He did, like always. In church this past Sunday, I was led to the book of Romans and flipped open to chapter 8.
There are some words that string together in the Bible that make it hard to understand. Those sentences you have to read over and over again before completely understanding what’s trying to be said. I can read an entire paragraph, understanding each and every word, but having no idea what it means by the end of it. Romans Chapter 8 did that to me this past Sunday. I read verses 1-17 over and over again, forgetting to breath because there is so much to take in. The spirit and body of the flesh, we’re dead to law but not if we receive, and now we’re adopted so we share sufferings and so we will have glory and so many, many other words strung in between all of that.
But, the part about the sufferings. That caught my attention. If we share in his (God’s) sufferings, we will also share in his glory.
Yeah, I needed that. Because, whether I’m personally suffering from made-up, yet very real fear or suffering from a broken heart for the orphans, widows and hungry there is a promise here that God himself suffers from these things, too. If we share in His suffering, we will also share in his glory.
Verse 18 continues by reading, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
And in this, I see a new message to share with all the people that cross my path. We are suffering together. Even God is suffering with us. But, what we are suffering from today will never compare to the glory of what will come. Take heart. Stand firm. You know, there’s power in that promise.
I’ve been really spiritually weak. This blog comes from literally several weeks of sleeping with some type of fear that I could feel in my bones. And then followed by this guilt of how can I sleep in fear while in a house with steel gates on every window and a security guard who watches the house at night. My fear is so illegitimate when there are children hiding every night from a war; or children sleeping homeless on the streets; or children being beaten and abused in their homes; or children being trafficked, raped and sold into slavery.
And my heart cries for them and for those I touch everyday in my small corner of the world in Haiti, because we are all suffering. Around the world, millions and millions of people, with stories all separate of our own. Persecution, injustice, oppression and violence crawl into the darkest places of our world and it seems as if only small, innocent voices know of their powers.
Sometimes it is just hard to deal with it all, face it all day after day. But, God is faithful and I don’t want to be someone who lives in fear. His words are full of promises; promises that I want to take to heart and live authentically by.
Romans chapter 8 continues with verses 28-30, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
The past three days I have been stuck in bed, fighting some type of bug. Unfortunately, this country has lots of weird parasites and diseases to offer to us wimpy North Americans. Regardless, I’m finally feeling better, but I’ve had three days to read and re-read this chapter 8.
And I think I will sleep without fear tonight knowing the final verses of chapter 8:
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?…In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Verse 31, 37-39
Whatever you’re suffering from today, I hope you will find light in these promises.
Love from Haiti.