Staring down the barrel of a gun
Several years ago, I became a South African statistic when I was hijacked at gunpoint. It was tragic to lose my car, but I will never forget what it felt like to stare down the barrel of a gun. The two robbers were pumped on adrenaline and maybe even a little scared. The one kept shouting at the other who held the pistol, ‘Shoot him! Shoot him!’ in a shaky, hysterical voice.
It was a frightening moment and I do not mind acknowledging that I was scared spitless. A few things happened. A million random thoughts ran through my mind at breakneck speed, competing with one another to make the least sense. Unable to focus on anything but the gun, I had no idea what was happening around me. A gaggle of geese could have joined us, and I would not have noticed. My arms felt weighed down and weak. My clearest thought: ‘What if that is not a real gun? What if I am giving up my car for a toy? How embarrassing would that be?!?’ No rhyme. No reason. No logic.
I love making decisions. The process of asking questions until I have enough information, weighing it up and discovering multiple options brings me joy. Debating the virtue of each option is a personal passion and I am convinced that the team who debates the best, makes the best decisions.
However, at that moment that I was staring down the barrel of a gun, I was possibly the worst decision-maker in the world. A drunk person would have been better at it. It was as if my ability to think was suspended for that moment in time. There was no clarity to my thoughts.
I get the impression that some people are responding to the lockdown and its various implications, unique to each of us as if they are staring down the barrel of a gun. But now is not the time to lose your clarity of thought or to fixate on something you cannot change. While this is a time of incredible hardship and immense challenges, it is also a time of unprecedented opportunity.
Your relationship with God holds such powerful keys to unlocking your future right now in lockdown. You should not despair, child of God. Your God has a habit of doing the opposite of what the times or your circumstances may dictate. The picture of God providing water in the desert is repeated often in the Bible.
You may not be in a desert but in lockdown. You may have all the water you need but lack opportunities or solutions or hope. Your God is amazing in whatever kind of desert you are in. Of the oft-repeated imagery of water in the desert throughout the Bible Isaiah 43: 19 just excites me the most:
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
You serve the God of the opposite. In deserts and wastelands, His children flourish. I challenge you to see if you can discover how often this image of water provided in the desert is repeated in the Bible. It is a theme. It is God’s pattern. One of His habits. It is how your God work!!
I want to encourage you to expect the following:
- New things to enter your life. (I am not talking about Zoom. 😊)
- Creative ideas and solutions. (See my blog Creative Genius)
- New doors opening. (Do your due diligence. New does not automatically mean it is God.)
- Divine appointments where you encounter people and opportunities that is God-ordained.
- Old, dried-up wells flowing again.
Stop staring down the barrel of the gun. Blink and turn your head away. See what God wants you to see. See the opportunities. Think new. And do not hold on to the past and how things used to work for you so that you miss all the new things.
I pray for you Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in Eph. 1:18-19 as rendered in The Passion Translation:
I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling—that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones!
I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to you through faith. Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you!
Do not give up. Look up!
Do not despair, even with good reason. Rather, be expectant!
(Keep an eye out for a couple of short posts this week on the God of opposites.)