The Third Chapter of Zephaniah is one of my favorites. "You will never again fear disaster"— Vol. 3, Ch. 12
This is a book of the bible many glaze over, if not for the odd sound of the name, for the brevity of the verses.
It is a small book. Only three chapters, after Habakkuk and before Haggai, at the end of the Old Testament. Who needs it?
The first time that Zephaniah became introduced to me was at my commissioning service with a European mission organization. I was Forty-Nine years young and they read Zephaniah 3:14-20
It was read over me after the actual commissioning, as a sending verse. The woman that read it over me had spent a great deal of time finding out about my life history.
The first verses she read, 14 and 15 were like a warm oil being poured over my head.
14. Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, oh daughter of Jerusalem!
15. For the LORD will remove his hand of judgment and will disperse the armies of your enemy. And the LORD himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over and you will never again fear disaster." Zeph 3:14,15 NLT
Doesn't that sound empowering? And it was.
I had troubles. Of course!
Trust me as a foreigner in a country that I didn't know either the culture nor the language, there was trouble and it did not take long for it to find me.
My first few days in Germany, the woman that was to be over me let me stay in her home. But, she left the country after only days. Her husband left, Her daughter left. I was in a place I could not drive, I could not speak, and I could not read signs, papers, AND, I couldn't write. I'm a writer. And I know this sounds incredibly trite - I could not write. I had no pens. I have a fettish — pens. Yes, that is my fettish. I love great pens. My pet peeve is a poor pen.
What makes a poor pen? 1) the flow, 2) the feel of it in my hand, 3) how much time does it take to dry on the page? If anyone understands this fettish, you get where I am coming from.
I arrived at this woman's home and got a tiny bit acquainted with the way things work there in her home in this foreign place. Things like, don't use the bathtub, the water costs too much, to open the windows every day for 10 minutes to Luft (let the air in) the apartment. I set up a checking account with the help of the woman. She drove me around town. I was in a complete fog.
I know she was doing the best she could. But, I was lost. Unwilling to cry 'I give' I muddled through.
The woman and her family left and I began roaming their home without any anchor. I looked outside. It was snowing. January is not such a great time to move to the Black Forest mountains. A woman from an American school came by for tea once and a sweet young girl took me under her wing, checking on me more often than that.
As a writer, I both wanted and needed to write everything I was experiencing in a journal. ALAS! I was days behind.
My exit off of the plane in Switzerland had not been an easy one. Exhausted and befuddled from the long journey and time change, I arrived and exited the plane in in the wee hours of the morning,
In my confusion of exiting the plane, I left my pens in the pocket of the seat in front of me. My entire pen bag. L.e.f.t.! Lost - gone forever, these pens I had thought about taking, these pens I had kept out of my baggage so they wouldn't break their cartridges, these pens that were my babies. GONE! I didn't even realize I didn't have them until the family was gone. Then I scrummaged through cabinets, drawers, everywhere to try and find a decent pen. There were none. This family obviously did not have a fettish for pens. And I was lost. Now, how silly was that?
I knew there was a store down the road a mile or so. A few days into my stay, the snow stopped falling and I decided to venture out and go the the PENNY (a grocery store) and buy a pen. Easy, right?
Not so much.
I walked to the store. It was cold, but, I had dressed well. I got to the store with red cheeks and runny nose. Nothing could have prepared me for a German grocery store in rural Germany. Small, quiet, and selective. I searched for a pen. I went up and down the aisles. There were less choices than I had ever seen. Only a few products available of each brand. And the prices were confusing. I picked up some snacks I hoped would be what the pictures on the labels showed, because I could not read the labels.
I walked to the cashier, swallowed my fear and asked, do you have any pens? I asked this in English LOL!
The cashier was blank-faced They called a young girl over that was stacking groceries close by. She translated for me (as I used a miming of writing in front of her). And then...the answer. Oh no we don't sell those. You have to go to a special store for those, we don't have them here.
"Which store? Where do I go?"
Her response, "No we don't have that kind of store in our town."
I was stopped. I was more than whipped. I was shaken. No pen, no way to buy a pen, my culture shock had just begun. It is such a small thing, but as I was told beforehand, it's the small things that come up and bite you in the face in a foreign culture shock.
Why you ask? It was a pen, not anything of any importance. Why was this little thing sending me over the edge? I was supposed to have no troubles, my troubles were supposed to be over. Now, even though I had received these verses, I still didn't embrace them unto myself. I had not really understood what God was saying to me.
I didn't really get what God was trying to teach me until later. We will always have troubles. Until the end days are over. I knew that. This wasn't even about that. God was teaching me a very simple truth.
What God showed me during those next ten years on the mission field.
You will never again fear disaster.
Since 2006, when I sold everything and left my career and my adult children in the United States. I have found that I wallow less in the fear of disaster.
Am I over that? No, not completely, yet.
Fear is stagnating. It is overpowering, It is the beginning of the end of any valuable project. Satan plays with it. He slams it in our faces. He uses it to manipulate us to stop what we are called to do and succumb to not doing much of anything. No not much of anything at all.
Does that mean our calling must be some great over the top mission? NO.
Does that mean our calling must be famous? NO.
It simply means our calling, whether that is to take care of little ones at home, or build a business of public influence, must be ours and cannot be anyone else's. God set that calling aside for you.
I've heard some people say, God doesn't need us. And He doesn't. He can grow someone else into the person that will do whatever He has needed to be done.
But, with that said. It will never be what He planned for you to do. It will have a different flavor, a different look, a different feel. It cannot be the calling that He called you to, because you are not a part of the recipe that completes the call. You are unique. He made you unique for a reason. He wants you that way. Only your personality, gifts and genius can be applied to your calling. If someone else does it, it is their calling, not yours.
I'm 63 years old. I have lived much. I have lived many places, and worn many hats. But, as for my calling? Here it is: Share with the world the Joy of intimate relationship with God. Invite them to come with me and to spread the Good News.
God gave me that call when I was 30. He has been honing it for 33 years. Learning not to fear disaster gave me courage, to raise my kids by myself with the help of the LORD, and a very gracious loving church body, to sell everything and go onto the mission field trusting that God would provide the finances to do so, to stay chaste in this world where chastity is not valued, and to give my all to the one man that He brought into my life (at 58) to be my forever love.
With these words from Zephania I've learned to refuse to fear disaster. I embrace the JOY of His delight in me. The LORD lives among us. He is right here with Biff and I at BlueMoon (our little haven.)
His calling is constantly morphing me bringing a deeper and deeper walk with Him into adventure. And as I step out in faith to follow (i.e. continuing providing a place for people to gather and share His word, as well as, write novels that confirm that true love happens.) I will find Him smiling down upon me and Him keeping the fear of disaster away.
I hope you will find this place of JOY as well.
Fear is not of the LORD!
Because He is the I AM,
i am robyn rochelle cox
Robyn & Biff Cox pray that He becomes your ALL.
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Thank you El Roi.
Robyn Rochelle Cox
WHOSE AM I?