Her mom’s words whispered cautiously to the seven children sitting at the kitchen table. The smallest of the group watched as her father quickly left the room.
“Get behind me,” her mom instructed, reaching for the gun housed above the door.
She heard the forced click, signaling it was ready to fire, and her mama opened the door.
A Cross burned in the front of their house and white hooded individuals surrounded her home.
“We mean no harm to you. We’re here to talk to the Judge.”
Her Mama stood firm. “Get off our property. I’ll shoot every one of you, and you know I can.”
“Not in front of your children – you won’t.”
“I’ll shoot you because of my children,” she retaliated.
“The Judge. The Judge. The Judge…” the chanting grew louder. Her mom fired a warning shot at the feet of several of the covered faces.
“Next time, I won’t miss,” her Mama’s voice affirmed.
Her oldest brother stepped from behind his mom, “Get off our property! Now!”
A large member of the group stepped toward the Victorian Home’s porch, and her mom strategically shot a bullet in his knee. Shouts rang through the air. The covered people scattered.
“I guess I’ll know you by your limp in the morning!” her brother shouted.
The tiny group of 8 backed into their home. Her mom sat down in the chair. Dolly noticed her mom’s shaking hands and trembling legs.
“Mama?” she asked concerned. “Why are you shaking? You were so brave!”
My words have been silent lately. My thoughts have not.
Like most of you, I am sheltered – in – place as much as possible. My freezer is full. Toilet paper stacked neatly in my linen closet. Dog food and cat food line the wall leading to our backyard. And alcohol spray, Lysol wipes, and hand sanitizer are strategically placed by the doors, in the cars, next to the sink, and by our beds. It has become the norm to mop the floor several times a day; wash my hands more than usual; and keep countertops, doorknobs, and handles wiped clean. It isn’t unusual to see people wearing masks, even while driving. And I no longer hug people when I see them. We speak from a distance.
My grandmother was 6 years old when the KKK came for her father. He was the Attorney General for the State of Georgia. After acquitting a black-skinned man of rape charges, the Klan came to his house. As a little girl, I heard the story often, having grown up in South Georgia during the heart of integration. My grandmother, Mama Dolly, instilled in us a deep love of people. People. Not skin color or nationality. People. She learned it from her father and mother, and I have the privilege of having been raised by a long line of incredible God-loving people.
She also taught us Who fights for us; Who goes ahead of us; Who gives us exactly what we need when we need it, even when the source of our fear is unidentifiable.
Dolly watched as her Dad came from the back of the house and held her Mom.
“You showed no fear,” her father said proudly.
My great-grandmother laughed heartily, “That wasn’t me. God was right beside me.”
We are going through something we’ve never experienced before. Facing the unknown, like facing masked evil in the front yard of your home, is something no one wants to experience. And a normal response is fear, worry, and anxiety to the what ifs and scenarios. This invisible enemy lurks on any floor, door handle, cough, or sneeze. The global death ticker keeps the score, and we watch, holding our breath, waiting for what comes next.
Romans 8:31 tells us, “What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
“If God is for us…” And He is… “Who? Who? Who can be against us?”
While it may seem our lives are turned upside down by COVID – 19, God is right beside us, in every step, every preparation, every tear, every illness. And He isn’t going anywhere. While things are uncertain, God isn’t. There is nothing He cannot or will not do for those who love Him.
And so “what shall we say in response to all this?”
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Here are some practical ways to fight fear:
- Affirm Who is for you.
Speak openly, “God is for me. God is with me.”
- Define it. Understand it.
Know what practical steps you can take to avoid what makes you afraid. Do what you can do – allow God to do the rest.
- Trust in His promises.
In God’s hands what was intended for evil will become eventual good.
- Don’t waste this time.
Love those around you. Help where you can. Take time to worship God as never before.
- Look for the Good.
There is good in the simplest of things. In global unity. In compassion. In time. In understanding. In the sun rising and the sun setting. Find it in every situation.