In 1953, a self-proclaimed prophetess predicted that the California coast would drop into the Pacific Ocean. She studied the stars and listened to her guides, and her instinct told her danger was imminent. I was almost seven years old, but I clearly remember it. Many people moved east, and mom asked dad if we were going to move. Dad responded with a simple answer: "No."
If you know California history, you realize that the massive earthquake and a redesigned coastline didn't happen. This prophetess predicted many other things, and a few of them actually happened.
Then, in 1958, she again predicted that the California coast...you guessed it...would drop into the Pacific Ocean. My friends asked me what I thought, and I told them it would not happen. People left the state in droves. My grandmother and mom's brothers and families packed up and moved to Arizona. Dad had reentered the US Navy as a chaplain a few years earlier. So, when mom asked dad if we could move to Arizona, dad told her we would relocate to wherever the Navy assigned him.
"What if California really does drop off?" mom asked.
"Then I suppose the new Navy base will be in Phoenix."
Then dad got serious, and asked mom a question. I'll never forget the following discussion.
"If the coast actually drops off, what's the worst thing that can happen to us?"
"We'll all die!" mom exclaimed.
"Okay, we'll die. But what's the worst thing that can happen?"
"I don't understand."
"We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our lives are in His capable hands. If it is His will that we drop into the ocean and drown, we will immediately be in heaven. So, what are you afraid of?"
Mom had a dynamic faith in Jesus, but many dedicated Christians sometimes allow fear to take over and rule their emotions. When fear rules, we enter emotional turmoil.
By the way, the earthquake didn't happen.
Then, in 1965, the prophetess gave another dynamic prediction. This time, not only was the warning the same, but she gave a date -- February 5, 1965. Carol and I were in college. Several friends came to me almost in tears, asking what were we going to do. I asked the same thing my dad asked.
"What's the worst thing that can happen?" They were emotionally involved and couldn't comprehend my calm, almost uncaring attitude.
"You don't understand. We're going to die!" they exclaimed.
"Will you go to heaven or hell?"
"We'll go to heaven."
"Then what are you afraid of?"
Because of fear and confusion, many of them didn't sleep all night, waiting for doom to hit.
And by now, you realize that earthquake didn't happen, either.
I am not denying the truth of prophecies that come from God, or are prompted by God. We read in the Bible that prophets gave warnings for many years about impending doom and judgment. We read of hundreds of prophecies of the Messiah who would come to earth and rescue us from sin and judgment. They all came true. And we read prophecies of the yet future return of Jesus to earth.
My favorite verses that bolster my faith and give me hope are Acts 1:9-11.
"After saying this, he [Jesus] was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!'"
A lot of things happen in life -- politically, socially, and otherwise. Some I like, some I don't. But those events do not govern my life. I don't allow fear or negative events rule me. You shouldn't, either. If we truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, He will guide us and give us peace in turbulent times – even if we don't understand what's happening, or why it is happening.
But this faith in Jesus is possible only if we know Him. And if we truly know Him, we'll obey Him. And the only way we can obey Him, is by studying what He says in the Bible. And THAT, my friends, generates peace and joy in our lives and irradicates fear.
So, what are you afraid of?
-- S. Eugene Linzey is the author of 'Charter of the Christian Faith.' Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.