My daughter announced that she hates ‘drills.’
All kinds of drills, she says.
Fire drills, tornado drills, lock-down drills, bus evacuation drills.
My oldest daughter chimes in about ‘lock-down drills,’ and how her teacher last year was so funny but the one thing she is super serious about is anyone who dares to giggle, laugh or even squeak out a hint of noise during a lock-down drill.
“She’ll send you to the principal,” my daughter lowers her voice for added drama.
These older girls of mine try to reassure the youngest sister that drills are essential and meant to help and not really a big deal.
But the baby girl is testing out fear here. I can see it on her face and I hear it in the way she keeps bringing these drills up. When she gets home from school. Over dinner. In the minivan. As she climbs into my lap for bedtime prayers.
“The drills…the drills….the drills…”
She’s been talking about these drills all week.
Clearly, they are on her mind. And we older and wiser ones keep jumping in with confidence that everything is fine so she needn’t be afraid, but she’s just not convinced.
The fear is kind of leaking out of her heart and into our conversations.
Oh, I don’t blame the drills, of course. I let her tell me about them all over again and then I look right into her two blue eyes and I even brush away her wild bangs so she can’t miss this reassurance:
Those drills are there to keep you safe. So that if anything ever happens, you’re not too scared to do the right thing. We drill now so we don’t have to be afraid later.
She nods knowingly, but I’m her mom and I know we’ll probably have this conversation again in a month when the alarm goes off at school and all the kids file outside for yet another fire drill. So we pray about it, every time it comes up, I pray peace for her.
It’d be nice, it’d be great, it’d be heaven really if we didn’t need drills, if we didn’t have to practice for fire or intruders or tornadoes or a world of harm and hurt.
But we live here, on a broken earth with sin and natural disasters and trouble.
And how we react in the crisis makes a difference.
I know this because haven’t I been alarmed and sent into a dizzying whirlpool of fear at the slightest provocation?
A phone call.
A Facebook post, for goodness’ sake.
Maybe you, too? The doctor’s report, the bill in the mail, the late night call, the hurtful remark, the broken car (again), the sobbing friend?
Trouble storms into our lives and how we react in the crisis matters.
We’re tempted to freak out and run around like a wild woman with her hands flailing hysterically in the air.
We’re in crisis mode. Making phone calls. Feeling hopeless. Crying desperately. Feeling helpless. Rallying the troops and sending out an SOS signal and doing anything possible to keep from drowning.
I’ll be honest, sometimes it doesn’t even take a crisis, it just takes one tiny bump into my plans for the day for me to settle into a funk of frantic activity and aggravated grumpiness.
The Psalmist said it just right:
In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help (Psalm 31:22 NIV).
In our alarm, when the bad news comes and we haven’t had time for faith to kick in, we snap to the judgment that God has abandoned us.
He can’t see us.
We’re cut off from Him, alone, dependent on our own strength to get us out of this mess.
Our natural reaction to an alarm is haste and hysteria, foolishness and fear.
It’s unnatural to choose peace under pressure.
but THE HOLY SPIRIT OFFERS US JUST SUCH UNNATURAL, SUPERNATURAL PEACE.
When everything settled and the crisis passed, the Psalmist recognized the truth: “Yet you heard my cry….”
In the haste of the moment, he had rushed into fear. But then he saw what was true, God had indeed heard His cry for help.
What about us?
Over time, after alarm and alarm and alarm have passed and the dust settles and we see Jesus right there with us, surely we’d know by now what to do in case of crisis:
Cry to God for help.
Trust Him to hear your call.
Rest in the assurance of His presence.
Not flaky peace, vague peace, warm-and-fuzzy-feeling peace, or the peace of blindness to our circumstances.
The peace that is the confident assurance of Christ’s presence right where we are.
Originally published 9/30/2015