Wednesday, May 17, 2023
When We Are Far From Anyone,
Alone With Dangers All Around,
And Fear Rattles Our Bones,
What ARE We to Do?
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him.
Words of Grace For Today
Julius dreamed it at first, and then woke, being shook urgently by a young man crying to him, “Come quick! The earth had shook. The rocks are tumbling down. Isera was hit by one and she is not right in her speech. Besides that a runner arrived just now and says that the waters in the mountain lake that feeds our river have risen higher than anyone has seen them and suddenly they have burst loose. They will surely break through the next series of lakes and beaver dams. The runner is gone on to warn others downstream. Everyone’s bones are stricken and shaking with fear. Will we live even another week, or even another day?”
Julius rose, and dressed quickly, praying to himself as he did, that he might have the wisdom to know how to treat Isera, that he might find the words to unshake the bones of the many people who needed to make a plan, to decide how to protect the community and the people.
Julius thought while he walked to see Isera, head injuries always seemed to be dangerous. People who thought nothing bad had happened would be sick for months and years and some would never heal, their abilities to live normal lives gone and their personalities changed dramatically. He noticed that those that seemed somewhat worse at first often healed faster after they rested for days and weeks and sometimes even months, before they tried to return to normal living.
Isera seemed to understand what he said, though her words were all confused, meaning next to nothing. He asked her if she would rest now for days, maybe weeks. Her response was fast and furiously gibberish. So he placed a writing pad (sand in a box) and gave her the writing stick. He asked her only to write “Y” for yes and “N” for no. Would she rest? Her “Y” was a bit messy but it was there. Drink plenty of fluids, walk as little each day as possible. Eat no more than she needed. (Nobody really did, for food was not overabundant, but sometimes people who rested started to eat and eat and eat, so Julius included it in his instructions.)
He asked her if she had pain. “Y”. Is it more than 5 out of 10? “Y” Is it more than 8 out of 10? “Y” Is it 10 out of 10? “N” He pulled some bark out of his healing-pouch. He showed how much to tear off to boil in three cups of water to make tea. “Boil it and then cool it so you can drink all three cups in ten minutes. You can repeat that every two hours, up to six times in a day. But no more six times and not more often than every two hours. Otherwise you will likely get stomach cramps and vomit.” “Y”
He said he would be back to check on her in the morning. He asked her friend to stay with her through the night and wake her every hour or so. No more than each hour and a half. For he had experienced one man who fell asleep and never woke up, and another man who fell asleep, but his wife kept waking him, and he rested and returned to work in the community gardens a few months later.
Then Julius walked outside and asked people to send one person from each household to meet with him in ten minutes. No one needed to be woken up, everyone was woken up by the earth shaking or by someone scared waking them. They gathered. Never had Julius seen so many people crying, screaming at each other, shaking their hands, heads, and some even their whole bodies as they tried to tell each other what dangers lay ahead for them.
Julius called them to order. It took a bit and when they were quiet he asked people who knew to tell in simple, clear terms, what dangers they faced.
It came out that the earthquake had done a little damage to a few houses. Aftershocks had come as well, some almost as strong as the first, also adding to the damage.
So Julius listed that for them: 1. Earthquake.
Then someone mentioned the water that would wipe out their community before the sun rose. Julius asked how this was known, and paused to write
It turned out nobody knew how bad or dangerous the water coming at them would actually be. Everybody agreed with Julius that they needed more information. Then someone cried a bit and reminded them of Isera. The falling rocks could hurt any of them out working near the cliffs. Julius wrote
3. Falling Rocks.
Then someone blubbered that this was doing them no good, they needed to run away to safety. That brought cries and screams as fear ran through nearly everyone there. Even Julius could feel the panic racing around the crowd. That’s when Julius remembered what someone had said about fear being the only real enemy. Julius stopped and called for silence for a minute, asked everyone to breathe deeply for a short while. Then he wrote
4. Fear! Most of all Fear!
He asked if their list were complete, was anything missing? When there was no response from the people, now quieted, Julius asked for volunteers to be the runners to get information up river. Three were chosen and sent to gather supplies and be off. Julius said it would be days, maybe weeks before the runners would return and in the meantime they should start packing and move to their hunting camp up in the hills, off to the side of the plateau that protected their community. That would also keep anyone else from being hurt by falling stones coming down the cliffs to the plateau.
More often than anything else Julius kept repeating, “We can deal with any danger if we have time. We have time. There is no need to be afraid. There is every reason to decide clearly and act carefully and quickly. We will be alright! The only danger that will do us in is fear itself!”
We will be alright.
We will be alright.
That is the promise God gives us all.
We will be alright.
We will be alright, for Jesus walks with us.