Panic? Or PANIC!!!

Living in Mumbai, I’ve kinda gotten used to the idea of bomb scares and having to endure extra security checks everywhere we go. Sad, but true. A couple of days ago, I experienced it firsthand. A bomb scare.

I was in the train, travelling to my cousin’s pre-wedding ceremony. Of course, I was reading and whiling away my time in the crowded mess we call a local train. Occasionally, I would look dramatically out of the window, to make me feel like I’m some sort of a highly philosophical person thinking about some very intellectual thing (I was actually thinking about what to eat; I was very hungry, you see). Anyway, in one of those moments when I was looking out of the window, I saw a tiny explosion take place a few meters away from the train while we were halted at a station. I couldn’t help but try to figure out what had actually happened. But before I could satisfy my curiosity, everyone on the train had their panic mode activated and there was a mad scramble for the doors.

They say, fire exposes your priorities. But a bomb scare exposes your inner panic.

Every single person on the train was terrified and screaming to get off the train. I was the last one to get off the train, because I couldn’t make any sense of why people were getting of the bloody train. Then I heard it. The different versions of rumors. There is a bomb on the train. Well, if there was wouldn’t it have gone off already? Why would it have a mini explosion to warn you instead? The train is on fire. This one I thought might be true for a minute. But I looked around and there was no smoke nor did it smell like something was burning. One of the boys sitting on top of the trains got electrocuted. Well then the cable lines would be shot and the train wouldn’t be working, which by now we could see that our train was raring to go. There were more rumors, but I stopped listening. I was looking around the people, instead.

Scared, terrified people. All of them having somewhere to go. All of them having their lives flash before their eyes. All of them holding on to someone they know or even just met. All of them desperate to live a little longer. Of course, they didn’t need to worry because it was only a rumor. But they didn’t know that. By the time we got back onto the train, people were making calls to their loved ones narrating their close call with death. All I did was sit there (because no one would listen to the relatively boring theory of what actually happened) and observe and it got me thinking.

Sometimes, the things we think are attacks on us are actually not attacks at all. We might think that they are going to break us, but they won’t. We might think, This is it. But it isn’t. We might think we are cornered and have no way to go, but that isn’t the case. Sometimes, we hear the voices of those around and panic, when there should be no reason to. Maybe it is time to examine what voices we’re actually listening to. The voice of reason? Or the voice of panic?

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Through it all

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Every time I watch this scene in The Amazing Spiderman, it cracks me up. Literally everything around him is falling apart and there Stan Lee is, unperturbed. Nodding along to the music he is listening to, oblivious to the battle waging a few feet from him.

Funnily enough, every time I think of the battles in our lives, I think of this scene. The only reason he wasn’t bothered by the devastation the battle had caused was because he wasn’t paying attention. Or more importantly, paying attention to something else.

When everything around you seems falling apart, we have two choices; focus on the world that is falling apart (devastation), or focus on the life-giving God that is working through it all (expectation). When we focus on devastation, we feel lost, confused, weary, abandoned, hopeless, grief. But when we focus on God with expectation, we feel loved, hopeful and peaceful.

Now, devastating situations do come in all forms in our lives, we need to choose what we’d like to be tuned into. Like Stan Lee, we can tune out the devastation and choose to remain peaceful under the circumstances. We need to tune in to God and listen to voice guiding us through the troubling times. We will feel blessed and encouraged and we can be a source of encouragement to others who are going through the devastation.

 

Project Psalms: Psalm 6

This Psalm is cry that arises from the times of troubled weakness. You know, when you feel so low about yourself and feel like you’re not worth anything? You wonder if anyone will love you? You wonder if your existence has even made a dent in people’s lives? And then you think that if you die today, no one would notice you’re gone?

I have been through every single one of those scenarios. And you know when I told one of my friends back then what I was feeling, she said I was weak. And I don’t know to this day if that was meant to cheer me up, but all it did was break me down even more. Until recently, every time I would face a challenge, I would hear her in my head saying I was too weak to amount to anything. It took a lot of breaking down situations and turning to God for answers to make me realize. Yeah I AM WEAK, BUT SO WHAT? It is not my strength. It is God who is in me, that I can accomplish all things through.

The same statement that brought me down all those years, that statement was turned around to bring me closer to the One who can help me make a dent in the world. So if you’re in a situation where you think you can’t do it, or you’ve been told you don’t have it in you, just remember this: In your weakness, He will be your strength. Go forward, knowing that He will give you the strength, ability, resources you need to accomplish what you need to do. Because, His word says that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

Project Psalm: Psalm 5

This Psalm speaks of loyalty and commitment. From both sides. It says, I will never pray to anyone but You and commits to going to Him with requests every morning.

What do you do first thing in the morning? To be completely honest, I am guilty of not going to the Lord first thing in the morning. The first thing I do when I wake up is check my phone for the time, but end up looking at all the notifications. Then I respond to the texts I missed. Then I crawl out of bed and freshen up, pour myself some tea and THEN spend time with the Lord. So how am I really prioritizing the Lord in my life? By the looks of it, He comes after everyone else on my notifications. It isn’t really fair to the One who saved my soul and I claim is the Lord of my life, is it?

Then it (the Psalm) goes on to talk about how the Lord has unfailing love towards us and how He protects us with His shield of love. Think about it, He doesn’t need a reason to love and protect us. He just does. Even if we’ve not put Him first in our priority list, every time we call Him, He is there. So clearly, it isn’t our deeds that make Him love us, but His grace. So instead of listening to our head and trying to make ourselves worthy of the grace and love (which is pointless, frankly), maybe we could work on our loyalty and commitment to Him? Maybe all He wants from us is that we put Him before all else?

Project Psalms: Psalm 4

They say, “Desperate times call for desperate measures”. But I say, “Desperate times call for desperate strides toward God”. The lonelier you feel, more distraught and helpless you feel, that’s the time you draw closer to Him rather than away from Him. Because if anyone can get you out of that situation, it’s God. If anyone can calm the storm in your life, it is God.

If I am completely honest, it is usually in times of need that I think of God the most. When everything is going fine, that’s when I tend to forget to look to Him. But recently there had been a situation when I was so upset that I refused to look to God. I didn’t blame Him, but I was upset with Him so chose to look away from Him. But even then, I felt Him by my side. Softly encouraging me, telling me it’s okay. I had His voice playing at the back of my mind while I wept into my pillow at night. And I knew I wasn’t alone. I knew He was there, allowing me to grieve. That’s the kind of God He is. He knows what we need and when we need it. And the best part? He has the ability to provide us with our needs.

So wait on Him. Count on Him. He will come through. In His time. Sleep in peace, knowing that the Lord will keep you safe.

Project Psalms: Psalm 3

This Psalm reminds me of Noah. Remember when he had to build an ark when there wasn’t even a drop of rain? Imagine the ridicule and torment he had had to endure every single day. People laughing at him, passing snide comments, gossip spreading that he has lost his mind. Imagine being in a situation where you know in your heart that you’re doing what the Lord has asked you to do, but everyone else thinks you’re mad. Imagine not being able to explain how you “just know” that it was the Lord speaking to you and not your own imagination running wild. Imagine the battles your must would face, tossing about between wondering if you really are crazy and knowing for certain that God has called you to build that ark.

If you’re in a situation where you think no one can rescue you. If people are saying you’re a lost cause or that there is no hope for you, just remember that God is a “shield around” you. He will lift your head high in front of the very people that ridicule you and underestimate you. He will keep you safe and watch over you. Just look to Him. Count on Him. Because victory comes from the Lord.

Project Psalms: Psalm 2

Sometimes we get so lost in the image of God as a loving Father that we forget that He is also a mighty powerful King. The King who can tear apart kingdoms. The King who can part the sea for His people. The King who can strike people to death. The King who can upturn tables in the temple place.

Yes, He is a powerful King. But He chooses to be a loving Father to us. A father who will wait for you to turn back to Him. A Father who will welcome you with loving arms. A Father who will provide. A Father who will never leave nor forsake you.

Isn’t this so mesmerizingly wonderful? Its like one of those fantasy movies we watch where the character who is super successful and strong and powerful, who turns out to have a heart of gold too. But that’s who Jesus is. And we tend to forget that He is also all-knowing and all-powerful. We get so used to seeing Him as the God who tends to our wounds, and loves us that we forget that we also need to serve Him with reverence. But how?

When I was watching Merlin that time (I know I know… I bring it up a lot. But hey, it got me thinking about a lot of stuff, okay?), I realized the difference. When Uther (Arthur’s father) was king, people feared him. Just blindly feared him. No one dared speak up even when they should have. No one dared look him in the eye. No one dared to cross him. Not because they agreed with him, but because they feared him so much. But when Arthur was king, he was just and kind and a good king. So people respected his authority whilst loving him. They knew they could come to him with any problems they were facing. They knew he would hear them out. They knew he wouldn’t have them hanged just for stepping out of line. They knew they could love him as well as worship him as king.

Our God is so much more than Arthur. He has time and again proved He is faithful and just and kind and loving. But He has also proved that He has authority over all creation, not just one kingdom. So our reverence must be so much more than just singing a few songs on Sunday. Our reverence needs to be to acknowledge his authority over our lives daily, knowing that He wants what is best for us. Knowing that He wants us to be our better selves. Knowing that He will never leave us or abandon us. Knowing that He has the universe at His command and yet He takes time to mend your broken heart.

A God and King like that deserves much more than our fear and respect, He deserves our love and loyalty as well.