An Ancient Struggle Returns




Few things aggravate most of us as much as being told “no” that we cannot do something we want to do or believe we should be able to do. We delude ourselves into believing we are not selfish and demanding until we face that big little word “no.” Even though we ascribe it as an issue for toddlers, the truth is that it remains an issue for us and right now in this season of crisis around the world we can see it more clearly.


Whatever corner of the world we live in, we are being asked to cease doing much of what we do routinely even if we are currently healthy and well. And to make it harder, we are being told that it could be for longer than a few days or even weeks. Each of us is faced with what we choose to do if we are still in a place where the choice is ours.


In some cases, leaders are learning from history. They look at how cities, towns, and countries responded to the great pandemic of Spanish Flu that circled the globe in 1918-1919. What they discover is that those who took more radical steps to curtail social exposure had fewer deaths. A great comparison is looking up the difference between St. Louis, MO, and Philadelphia, PA, during that time.


Humankind has never liked the word “no” as it is sown into our DNA. Our oldest relatives, Adam and Eve, set us up for this when they could not accept “no” about only one tree in the beautiful Garden of Eden so long ago. Their rebellion haunts us and lingers in us to varying degrees.


We can be lulled into living as if all we have will always be readily available whenever we want it or need it, paying little heed to knowing we each receive life one day, one moment at a time.       person-pouring-milk-in-highball-glass-1435706


We also don’t do well preparing for things we do not have experience with at the moment. How many laughed and mocked Noah when he built an ark instructed by the Lord when humankind had never seen rain, rainstorms or any kind of flood before?


Too many among us don’t like to study history but fail to realize the gifts it offers us to help us living in the now.


The current crisis will be weathered best by those who trust in the One who only has told us “no” when it was for our own good and by those who submit to the authorities over them seeking to help us before we fall prey to a worsening situation.


Fear knocks on the doors of many hearts, minds, and spirits, but fear will defeat us if we ignore what biblical and world history teaches us. Foolishness will also defeat us if we ignore what fear is reminding us to take heed of.


As Dr. Dan Allender and Dr. Tremper Longman III wrote in 1994 in Cry of the Soul, our emotions reveal our deepest questions about God. As they write about the emotion of fear, here are some key points they offer:


“Different people fear different things with different levels of intensity, but all of us fear what we cannot control.”


 “Fear is provoked when the threat of danger (physical or relational) exposes our inability to preserve what we cherish most deeply.”


 No one would likely argue with either of these statements, but consider what else they wrote about fear:


IMG_3591“Fear can function as a warning light when danger is near. It can function to keep ourselves from harm.”


Some of us are blessed right now to have warning lights going off. We are not ill as yet and we can give up on our stubborn desires to go about life as though nothing is happening and say “no” to restrictions, or we can see those warning lights of caution as a gift of love for our protection.


John Eldredge recently released a new free app (Pause) in conjunction with his newly released book, Get Your Life Back. The app allows you to practice a pause to reflect – first for just one minute at times you set each day and then to increase to three, five, and ten minutes. The one-minute pause shows a beautiful mountain waterfall with beautiful music in the background as John speaks these words we could all use at present:


“Jesus – I give everyone and everything to you.

I give everyone and everything to you, God.

I give myself to you, Jesus,

For union with you.

I am created for union with you, God.

I give everything in me for union with you, Lord.

I need more of you, God.

Fill me with more of you.”


When everything in us wants to shout “no”, may we submit to Him and say “yes.”


PPP 006


18 thoughts on “An Ancient Struggle Returns

  1. This current situation is shedding light on a lot of human idiosyncrasies, isn’t it? And yes fear can be a very healthy and life saving emotion depending on when it happens and how we respond to it. We are a stubborn bunch, for sure. I have learned that when it comes to the things out of my control, if I just release them and the worry about them to my higher power, I can rest easy because I know that the outcome will be exactly as it should be. Trust and faith go a long way especially in times like this, but in every day challenges as well. Because I can surrender the worry, I am not experiencing too much stress or anxiety right now and I much prefer it that way. Now to get everyone else on the “no-panic train”! Thanks for sharing a timely and relevant post!


    1. Thanks so much, Shelbee. I think crises tend to bring out the best or the worst in us. I think sometimes the “no-panic train” can get more riders if folks are not glued to the news 24/7 that tends to stir things up – sometimes with the worst case scenarios and sometimes with misinformation.

  2. I’m definitely having to practice more pauses in my days to keep fear at bay. I pray that many WILL listen and act on the ‘no’s’ that we are being advised to take. Stay well, Pam!

  3. I hadn’t really thought of my intense resistance to all of this having to do with not liking ‘no” but I think there’s something to it.

  4. Pam,
    This really brings home the truth that God is God and we are not. We are NOT in control and the sooner we submit to the One who is in control, the sooner it can be well with our soul. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow and maybe this is a wake-up call to live life one moment at a time and to Pause and thank God for each and every one. Beautiful!
    Bev xx

  5. This really hit home with me! I don’t like to be told no either but I know I have to put my trust in God. He is still on the throne and He is in control. Thank you once again for your encouraging words.

  6. Pam, I can’t imagine what this is life for those who’ve planned weddings and conferences etc. Knowing the One who is in control and that the “no” He allows in our lives is for our good is certainly a great comfort.

    1. I know such major plans are difficult, but such a pointed reminder that we are blessed with the present as a gift and cannot assume that life will go as we plan or hope. If we move closer to the Lord through this and encourage one another in all the many ways open to us despite being at home then we will likely gain much good. Such times as these tend to accentuate who we are and we see people become their very best and others their worst. Praying more come together in heart, minds, and spirits to preserve lives and this nation while we look to the only One who will never leave us. Your book release seems to have been a divine timing for any who pick it up to read now.

      Take care and God bless, my friend♥️

  7. It is astonishing to realize (see in action) just how much we – as adults, as Americans, as Christians – do not like to be told no!! Certainly not just a problem for toddlers!

  8. You are so right. Pam! We DO fear what we cannot control. But that’s where faith and trust enter in. I’m so glad I have a God I can have faith in and put my trust in!!! THAT make all the difference when fear comes knocking!

    Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

  9. Yup, it ‘s the lack of control that catches us–I like to think I’ve got my plans all made, but they can change in a blink. Thanks be to God, he’s our Rock. And I keep asking him to use this season for the purpose he has in mind.

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