As I prayed for you during quarantine and how I could best serve and encourage you, God laid on my heart to ask some of my friends to share their wisdom and expertise. I am so excited to bring you a series of guest posts from my friends. We began with my friend Ericka Eller’s post on stress, then Sarah Nichols’ post on anxiety. This week I want to introduce you to my friend – Rebecca Hamlin, LCSW.
Rebecca Hamlin and I met at church and became quick friends. When I first began speaking, she accompanied me. She is an amazing friend and encourager!
Rebecca Hamlin an EMDR Therapist in Tucson, Arizona at her practice – Soul Space. She is trained in The Daring Way. She speaks and is a member of the teaching team at Pantano Christian Church.
Finding Peace in a World that’s on Fire
by Rebecca Hamlin, LCSW
I woke up suddenly from a fitful night of sleep. I rolled over to look at the clock and it was only 2am. On my way to the bathroom I paused to glance outside and the mountains were lit up. Tucson is burning…well technically the mountains around Tucson are burning but isn’t it fitting to have a literal representation of what has metaphorically been taking place throughout 2020?
The fire in Tucson has been growing, destroying thousands of acres. The city is filled with smoke during the day and at night the flames become visible – beautiful and symbolic of a world that feels like it’s on fire.
Headlines, political divisiveness, racial injustice, diseases of the body and the mind…the noise is deafening and it feels like the earth’s foundations are cracking. For months, collectively our security has been threatened, our foundations shaking. The comfort of certainty has eroded and the myth of control has become painfully obvious. Our lives feel fragile and our futures filled with unease. I find myself desperate to find an escape – a way out. The despair is overwhelming.
Almost every morning during quarantine I’ve woken up early. In the quiet and cool of the morning I sit outside on my patio, in the stillness, to soak up the only thing that feels dependable in this season – the presence of God. In these private moments I exchange the weight and pressure of anxiety for the gift of peace.
I’ve spent the last few months reading and studying the book of Psalms. David’s raw candor and his vulnerability feel palpable at times. I’m not sure I’ve ever connected with his intense lament or his cries of grief in such deeply personal ways. David’s songs of praise despite his circumstances have been a reminder to me that I can choose to worship regardless of my circumstances and without consideration of what is happening in my world and in this moment. A meaningful example of the power of choice.
This week, these early morning moments of respite brought me to Psalm 91…
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will rest in the shadow of the Almighty
I Will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress
My God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV)
In a world that feels heavy and hard, David reminds us that whoever dwells will rest…this promise brought peace to my anxious heart and a sense of hope deep in my soul. The Psalmist goes on to describe a God who is a faithful refuge, a hiding place, where we do not have to fear. When we call on God, He will answer us, He will be with us, and He will deliver us. What a beautiful assurance – though our world is shaken, God is not!
As I read through and studied the Psalm I was struck by how David outlines our responsibility and as a result, God’s promises. “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the almighty.” It’s clear that there is a connection between choosing to abide in God’s presence and being at peace in a world on fire.
I am not excused from taking an active role. The idea of dwelling is a verb and requires active participation with the Spirit – it’s a way of being, a counter-cultural way of living in a world marked by noise, anxiety, tension, vitriol, distrust, and fear. When I consider the invitation, the way forward seems simple.
God is offering us protection – protection from the fire’s that burn in our hearts, the fires that eat our souls, the fires that destroy our relationships, the fires that ravage our peace, our hope, our confidence, our security. But we must first choose to dwell, to rest, to trust in the presence of God. The chaos of this world does not compare to the rest and the peace that comes from abiding in the safety and security of God’s presence.
How do we find peace? Rest? Respite? In the midst of so much destruction around us, Psalm 91 makes it clear:
“I will greatly protect you.
I will set you in a high place, safe
And secure before my face.
I will answer your cry for help
Every time you pray,
And you will find and feel my presence
Even in your time of pressure and trouble
I will be your glorious hero”
Psalm 91:14-15 (TPT)
God we choose today to rest in your strength, in your power, and in your protection. You are our hope. May we have the courage to trust in you and in your faithfulness.