Faith vs. Fear

Most people associate a summer vacation with the hope for an enjoyable, restful time.  That’s how we started vacation 2018, and thankfully that’s how we ended it.  Fear was nowhere to be found. Yet I had an experience that I can only explain by acknowledging the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Curious?  I’ll explain.

Although I have shared writings for almost 20 years, I had absolutely no intention of writing while on vacation; not even a post card.  At our first stop Barbara and I encountered two young, black children in the hotel pool. They aggressively befriended us with the hope of getting swimming lessons.  I smiled inwardly with the joy of social progress.

The second day I felt the power and peace of God as we entered the island which is environmentally pure.  The third day a young pastor talked about his personal growth after working with a teenage, doubting Thomas.  As it turned out in a room full of strangers, randomly seated, that young man who changed the pastor’s life was sitting directly in front of us.

Day four I met a friendly clerk in a coffee shop whom I hadn’t seen since our mutual evacuation due to Hurricane Irma in 2017.  She told me that her seriously ill mother was evacuated from a hospital during the storm and since she refused to “die anywhere but home”, they rode out the storm in their isolated home, surrounded by fallen trees and rising flood waters. Somehow, they survived thanks to the power of constant prayer.

Four days, four unsolicited, unexpected testimonials to the power of prayer and God’s presence in the world.   I know a Godly intervention when I feel one so on day five I made a promise, “Lord, I promise that whomever you put in my path on a given day, I’ll share his/her story.”

Since one vacation goal was to celebrate my daughter’s 40th birthday, I picked 40 stories as a target.   Would the Holy Spirit send me 40 stories in 42 days? I shouldn’t have been surprised that the Holy Spirit delivered. 

Every day a story fell into my lap. Every day I found something positive and spiritual to write about.  In a world full of pain; on a trip designed to help mask the world’s dysfunction; God provided daily reminders of who is in charge and His overriding message of Hope.  I entitled my project, Finding Hope, 40 stories in 42 days.  It turned out to be 28 pages long.

The overriding theme in most of these stories was the power of prayer and positive answers to those who had faith.  Here are three examples, (note all these people were complete strangers to me at the time they shared their story);

Aug 27   Linda had a good life until her husband unexpectedly passed.  Needing finances, she took on a second job.  One night after working a double shift she fell asleep at the wheel and hit a telephone pole head on.  Her injuries should have killed her but miraculously she faced months of rehab.  No matter how much rehab, she was told her ability to speak was permanently lost. As a last resort she sought out a specialist.  He told her of an experimental surgery. The night before the surgery he said to her “Are you scared? Have faith.  God gave me my skill just so that I could help you.”  She couldn’t speak, but God heard her prayers.  Today she’s back to work and can communicate fine.

Sept 2   Dee, a woman in her mid-30s woke up one night with a headache.  She took a few Tylenol but never woke back up.  They found her the next morning unconscious due to a stroke. In the emergency room she heard voices talking about death or permanent disability.  She prayed, but not for what you’d think.  Being a heavy smoker, she prayed that God would give her the strength to not cause a disruption in the hospital because of her addition to nicotine.  She survived, completed three months of physical therapy, went back to work and hasn’t smoked.

Sept 13   Madison is a young nurse who was looking for a non-medical, job to supplement a three day a week nursing shift.  At the same time Barbara and I have been constantly praying for someone to be interested in working as an adult companion to our daughter.  Before we left for vacation we had almost given up hope (but not prayer).  Then we received an exploratory email from Madison.   A bright future appears on the horizon for both ladies.  Good relationships affect both parties in positive ways.

These stories have something in common; hope and prayer were used to overcome adversity and fear.  Although I believed before, my intervention with the Holy Spirit made that belief rock solid.

In this holiday season, my advice is simple.  Whatever you fear, bring it to God in prayer and then have faith.  Accept His answer whatever it is.  The answer will always be there.

 

Jim Randazzo

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