Fear not: A personal account

It was year nine of living my dream! Since I was a girl, I had known the Lord wanted me to serve Him overseas. Finally, after college and other preparations, I was ministering in gorgeous, subtropical Durban, South Africa. God had provided a husband and two sons to also live this adventure. The cultures, colors and country filled my heart with joy.

As was my custom, I took the Bible and devotional materials to the front verandah that day in 1999 and placed them on the table. The boys were at school, husband was in the office and the cul-de-sac was quiet. The neighbors’ tree was in full view. The tree was one of the reasons for studying there amid God’s creation, to commune with Him.

I was reading through the Bible, currently in Isaiah. I started reading chapter 41 and got to verse 10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

I had always loved that verse and was moving on to verse 11. But, not quite because the Lord clearly impressed on my heart, “read it again.” So I did. Then He again said, “read it again.” By then, I was thinking, “OK, Lord, I know this verse.” Then I realized Who I was arguing with and was convicted to concentrate. He was trying to tell me something.

Fast-forward months later. I was sitting, with my two sons, now 15 and 12 in my parents’ home in Williamsport. Durban was gone, along with: my 28 year old brother, Mark, a military chaplain who dropped dead on the side of the road on Sept. 18; my husband who separated from and later divorced me; the Durban home, friends and Rosie our dog. Then my 55-year-old favorite Aunt Sherry, also unexpectedly died. On Sept. 19, 1999, I had been driven to the Durban airport, so I could fly Stateside to attend Mark’s funeral. I clutched a round-trip ticket, but never returned.

The grief of many losses in a short time almost overwhelmed me. Plus, the losses kept coming. I stopped asking the Lord for them to quit. Instead, I asked what He was going to do with all the tear bottles I had filled. He says in His word that He collects them. One day as I was again crying I said, “Lord, I can live without all that is now gone. I didn’t choose to, but I can. However, I cannot live without You. I’m not letting go of You ever.”

Shortly afterward I remembered, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” All those months before the Lord was preparing me for a coming storm I could not imagine. He assured me in advance that He would strengthen, help and hold me the whole way through! He did that and more.

Because of that grief I can be there for others who hurt. God strengthened me with His compassion, care and love so now I can share that with others. Not one tear was wasted. The words of this song remain true, “It is no secret what God can do. What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you. With arms wide open, He’ll carry you. It is no secret, what God can do.”

Logan been served as a chaplain with UPMC Susquehanna for thirteen years.

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