Two days before Thanksgiving, I boarded a plane headed west to my sister’s. The last thing I read before walking onto the plane was a worldwide travel alert issued by the US State Department, warning travelers about widespread security threats.
“US Citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation,” it said. “Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season.”
Not exactly the words you want to read moments before boarding a plane. Two days before Thanksgiving. At O’Hare International, the third busiest airport in the country.
The minute I got to my seat I pulled out my Bible and read through a few of my brightly highlighted I-need-courage-and-I-need-it-fast verses. (Not joking…I barely had my seat belt on and I was flipping to the Psalms.)
Truthfully, I’ve always struggled with fear, but it’s been an especially real battle in recent months. Terrifying events abroad and on our own soil have made me extra timid and fearful.
Caution and preparedness are one thing. Fear is another.
My weapon of choice to fight the fear is God’s Word. It’s the sword that slays all panic and despair, reminding me of a Power greater than evil and a Presence that transcends all earthly turmoil.
When I feel fear and anxiety rise within me, I turn to two habits that have done my heart a world of good the past few months: I read God’s Word. And I write prayers.
After Thanksgiving, on the plane ride home, I took out my Bible and my notebook and wrote this prayer based on Psalm 121 and Micah 7:8. The page is now pinned to my bulletin board, a scrawled out memo that my soul needs often.
I take heart that You sympathize with my weaknesses and are well acquainted with the griefs of this world. Though I choke on fear, I thank You for protecting me and upholding me when my courage falters.
Remind me daily—in tender hints and whispers—that my help comes from You.
You are my Keeper who does not slumber. You shield me from evil, preserve my soul, and guard my going out and my coming in.
Though I may fall, help me to rise. Though I may dwell in darkness, be the illuminating Light that beams like a lantern of hope for a hurting world.
When fear rises like an anxious tide within me, remind me of who You are.
You are the One who keeps, shields, preserves, and guards. You are the One who lights, loves, calms, and restores.
You are Emmanuel, God with us. With me.
And You leave no fearful soul alone.
This is me, scribbling prayers and reading Psalms and laying my fears at His feet.
In this season of comings and goings, and in this world of hurts and horrors, may He light our way, draw us near, and weave courage into the fabric of our hearts.
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