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Rooftop Refugees

 

        Fear is a funny thing.  I picture a miniature alligator called “Doubt” that creeps into my mind; he puts on a cruel-looking mask known as “Fear,” and manipulates my memories into lies.  He gets into a shouting match with the little violin in my heart…trying to convince me to stop composing sweet love songs.  He tries to derail my song with noise. 
 
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18
 
            Over the past few weeks, my prayer has been that Jesus would show me how to grow in His perfect love… I want my little violin to become a grand orchestra, and I want Jesus to show me how to hush my little alligator fiend. 
 
            Well, Jesus answered my prayers.
 
            From waking up to the rumbles of spiritual warfare, to insane taxi drivers, and a 5 foot writhing cobra at the entrance to SHE, I have received plenty of opportunities to choose to trust Him- to love Him enough that the noise of fear would be quieted by my heart’s symphony to my King.
 
            Yesterday, the little alligator fiend in my mind put on its cruelest guise yet, as he tried to convince me of death’s imminent sting. 
 
“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? …Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” -1 Corinthians 15:55-57
 
            Kristina, Sabrina, Saraw, and I sat down in surrender, as tremors shook the building beneath us.  We were trapped in Patong; roads were blocked with traffic as hundreds of people scrambled in search of high ground.  We began singing worship songs, as we took turns holding one of our Thai friends, while she wept uncontrollably in panic. 
            Through tears, a security officer (clinging to one of the cement poles of this unfinished warehouse where we had found refuge) told us that the tsunami had hit the beach.  This was it.  We held hands tightly and prayed that if it was God’s will, we would walk through Heaven’s gates together; we prayed for a miracle that we might walk off the roof unscathed.  We praised God for His wonderful faithfulness and love. 
 
Fear is a funny thing. 
 
            Eight years ago, an earthquake in Indonesia caused a tsunami which took the lives of over 2,000 people in Phuket.  On April 11, 2012, an earthquake of even greater magnitude affected Indonesia.  Its tremors were fiercely felt in Patong Beach.  Thousands of people attempted to evacuate as news reports purported an approaching tsunami destined to hit Patong at 6pm.  We had been sitting in a movie theater until 5:20pm completely oblivious.  Other than the tremors, which we attributed to someone kicking our seats, there had been no signs of danger.  Then the screen went black, the lights shut off, and as we left the theater confused, mall security told us that we must evacuate the area.  Roads were completely jammed, and we had no way out.  We ran.
            …Up the stairs of an abandoned unfinished warehouse- our wall of Jericho.  We had followed our bar girl friends, collectively named Rahab, to this rooftop- our safe place to weather the oncoming flood.  Nearly fifty others were gathered with us.  We began praying over groups of tourists- a family on vacation for the first time, a woman from Australia here on business, an Iranian couple who did not know Jesus, and many others.  Mothers were crying, grown men were clinging to rebar poles sticking up from this building, and we sat praying desperately, as tremors shook the foundation of our ‘safe place.’
 
Fear is a funny thing.
 
            An hour later, we finally got through to our ministry ‘dad;’ he told us that the wave was a misassumption.  We could come down from our rooftop, and tell the others that it was safe.  He arranged for a friend to pick us up and bring us home- alive and unscathed. 
           
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall not fear, for You are close beside me. Your rod and staff protect and comfort me.”-Psalm 23:4
 
            I sincerely believe that Jesus calmed a tsunami on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.  Just as He parted seas and quieted storms, God hushed the raging waters of the Indian Ocean.  He heard the desperate pleas of His children, and prevented the repercussions of an earthquake that caused so much devastation several years ago.  Just as He refused to let us drown, my heart refuses to surrender to its old fiend.
 
…Do not fear or be discouraged.  For the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go”-Joshua 1:9

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