Included. Accepted. Wanted. Desired. Sought out. Pursued. Words that unlock both longing and terror in me. Often I can’t tell the difference between the emotions – they are so close in my heart. I barely recognize longing before the torrent of terror crashes with pulsing madness over me. I can’t see, think, speak, breathe. With keen instinct, my feet spring forward on tiptoes, posed to flee. I consciously plant my heels back on the ground. You are safe.
Every muscle in me stiffens as the pulsing madness crashes on the fortress of stone that guards my heart. Jesus rolls the stone away. He hears. He sees. He answers – just as He did for Hagar in her desperate desert, He does for me. He comes for me and pulls me from the rocky crags where I teeter toward the ocean of chaos, takes me into the safety of His embrace and dances me across the crashing waves.
“In distress you called and I delivered you. I answered you in the secret place of thunder (Psalm 81:7 ESV). It’s just a wave, Christine. It’s just a wave. Though waves of fear, dread, doubt, insecurity – terror – rise and fall, roar and foam, you will not be overcome. You will not drown. Trust me. I have you and I will not let you go. It’s just a wave.”
I feel the tempest wane and the waves return to lapping gently at the shore. “I answered you in the secret place of thunder…” The storm settles. All the words I long for He whispers in love tones, singing over me. I can rest now. The storm has passed. I can rest here. I am safe in His embrace. Evil. Does. Not. Win. Not now. Not ever.
It is not the scene of every encounter at every moment of every day. But often enough. It comes unexpectedly. Some days I manage to walk circumspectly. Other days I barge in, knocking over the emotions, needs, humanity of others. Or, I crawl – feeling, tasting, breathing in every molecule of depravity that lurks in the flesh of me with no recognizable ability to stand. Undulation unrestrained, energized or paralyzed by accusations that fuel the storm.
But – Evil does not win.
The accusations are not true. They are nothing but the hissing of Eden, “Has God said…?” (Genesis 3). The message has not changed, but it is powerful, convincing, veiled in beauty, counterfeit.
There is a goodness birthed and a power unleashed when women join hearts and hope to stand, to fight, to pray together.
When you are with me, your strength beside me, your faith reminding me to call out – Praise You, Father, for the truth that evil does not win! I find my voice. I find legs to stand and walk into the gathering storm with renewed strength to walk into the classroom, restaurant, meeting, party, library, hotel lobby, church, shopping center, mall, grocery store, salon, bank, post office, group, gathering – without barging or crawling. I can walk. I can take the next right step of freedom from the fear of never being enough.
Christine Browning is a lover of story—including her own. She loves to hear and longs to respond well to others’ stories. A late bloomer in the field of education, it is her absolute delight to teach at Milligan College in East Tennessee. She also counsels women who have experienced trauma and abuse. Christine is the mother of three adult children, three incredible grandchildren and has been married for 42+ years to her delightfully playful husband, Tom.