I had the neat opportunity yesterday afternoon to sit down with a really inspiring woman who is in the process of moving to Haiti full time with her family. They've observed and learned a lot over these years of visiting, but as they prepare to move to Haiti full-time, we've been helping them find answers to some of their questions.
And what was eating her yesterday is such. a. huge. issue.
She noted that while she's working with fantastic men and women who love the Lord, that everyone seems to live in a continual state of fear, suspicion and mis-trust. She continues to be told not to trust ANYONE, even those she has trusted for years, and continues to be warned of the dangers of curses and bad wishes.
How do you DO it? she wanted to know. How do you live without being able to trust anyone, how do you live under the constant fear of curses and witchcraft and voodoo and threats, how do you raise your children in that?
While I had to think through some of her other questions about visa's and cost of living, I didn't have to spend 2 seconds pondering this one.
We've been told we're insane. We've been told we are terrible parents. We've been told we're foolish. We've been asked versions of this question hundreds of times by hundreds of people over the past ten years, versions of What if? and Aren't you scared?
We are NOT. And that has nothing to do with Haiti and voodoo and everything to do with Christ.
Perfect love casts out fear, and His perfect love does that for us every single day.
As I read through Bible story after story with the girls, I can't tell you how many times the angel of the Lord said Do not be afraid! Can't tell you how many times we are told Be strong and courageous!
I am absolutely convinced that there is no room for fear in the life of Christ-follower, something we've had a lot of time to think about in this fear culture.
Voodoo stands entirely in Haiti on legs of fear. Someone dies. A witchdoctor says it was his curse that killed him. The fear continues. Someone gets hurt, someone gets sick, and a mambo says she was the one who put out the hit. The fear continues. Someone is mad at you and you get a cold...or you get a cold and so someone must be mad at you. You touched the demon tree and everyone waits for something terrible to happen to you.
No, we will not live in fear, neither of what man nor Satan can do to us. We believe fully that our God is all powerful and able to overcome any scheme of darkness. And if He choses not to, we trust Him fully, and you may bring it on.
I don't let my kids play in the street, I bleach all our fruits and vegetables, and if you prove that you cannot be trusted, we are not going to trust you. But I'm living in Christ, and there is no room in Christ for fear, just as Christ trusted in those whose dirty hearts he could clearly see, just as he headed for the cross without fear.
Satan cannot touch me without God's permission, and if God gives His permission, then I trust Him.
It is not the walls the students jump over daily to retrieve soccer balls that protect us. It is not the flashlight of our 100 lb., 80 year-old nightwatchman that guards my children. We don't have so much as a slingshot, and we never will. It isn't our strength, it isn't our walls, it isn't our seat belts, it isn't our wariness.
It is Him.
I'm sharing this idea in our context because it's easier to see the fear, it's easier to explain the trust.
But each time I'm asked, "Aren't you afraid?" I want to ask the asker the same question.
It's not America that keeps you in His hand. It is not safety rated van, it is not your security system, it is not the lack of voodoo, it is not the metal detector. Satan roams, and he is as alive and well and out to steal and destroy in EVERY culture, right now. He is out to take EVERY foothold you will give him, out to kill and to ruin. Everything. Everywhere.
There is nothing that man can do to you here that he can't do there, nothing Satan will try here that he won't try there.
But the all-powerful-God's hand? It is ON you.
Do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous. His perfect love casts out fear, and there is much to be done through the courageous, trusting hearts of His children.