Fish and Fear...

The Summer of 2003 I boarded the scariest air flight of my life. I was in Moscow about to board a plane to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia where I would be doing ministry for the next 3 months. A bus had taken me and the rest of the plane's passengers out to the furthest part of the tarmac. I wasn't even sure if I was in the right place. I had just shown the lady at the desk my ticket and she angrily pointed out the door to a bus I assumed I was supposed to get on. A light drizzle started as passengers started to climb up the stairs into the aircraft. Thankfully when the attendant looked at my ticket they motioned me to get on the plane. Phew... glad I didn't have to worry about that anymore!

I was shocked to discover that the floor of the airplane resembled a 70's shag carpet in the puke green color. I found my seat and to my dismay, it was broken and always in a semi reclined position. I was seated in the aisle next to a Russian couple who looked more than displease to be sitting next to this strange American girl trying to find her way to Siberia. I was scarred. What in the world was I doing? It was far from too late to turn back now. I realized I hadn't communicated with anybody in Siberia when I was coming in (not that I knew anyways), and I prayed someone in the office back home had. I also realized I had no idea how long the flight was... and as the hours dragged on, I didn't think the flight would ever end.

Eventually the flight attendant started making his way down the aisle with dinner. I watched and listened as he asked each person what they wanted... in Russian! I frantically scanned the food section of my Russian/English dictionary to try and figure out what my options were, but I had no clue. I finally decided that I would say whatever the person next to me said... the annoyed Russian couple. It was our row's turn and the man next to me said: "Ryba" (рыбы). "Ryba, Ryba, Ryba"... I said over and over in my head. I was concentrating so hard on saying the right thing in Russian, that when the attendant looked at me and said "Chicken or fish?" I didn't realize he asked me in English! "Ryba", I said. "Ryba?" He questioned, and I nodded my head, yes. And when he brought me my dinner "Ryba" I got... fish. I honestly would not have ordered fish if I had understood my options... the funny thing is, he had asked me in my language, but I had been so wrapped up in not messing up, that I missed it. I took a bite of my "Ryba" and was shocked to discover it was still full of bones! I lost my appetite so I tried to eat the bread and salad type thing and it was good enough.

Fear is a funny thing. Fear keeps us from going forward. Holds us back, shuts us down, makes us do silly things. It is an ugly thing I have had to continually kick out of my life. The Lord knows this, though, and He never means for us to try and do this on our own, because it's not possible. At the last Supper the Lord was telling his disciples some intense things and warning them of even crazier times to come up. I love what the Lord says at the end of John 14. I can just picture Him looking around at the shocked, fearful, and worried faces around Him, and as a loving Father, He says:

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
(John 14:27)

God loves us so much. We messed up in the Garden of Eden, and God has, is, and continues to draw us back into that perfect relationship with Him. A relationship that's pure, and Holy, void of fear and full of peace. How often do we (do I) fret and worry about what we are supposed to do? How often are we unsure and timid; fearful to even stop and listen. God wants to speak into your life. He wants to calm your fears. He has promised to give you peace. And the best part is that He is speaking your language, but too often the words of everyone around us are muddled in our head and we just want to say the right thing so that we fit in and don't look out of place. But our place is with God... and that is the only place any Christian perfectly fits in and that is the only place void of fear.

Had I listed to the one voice on that plane speaking my language, I would have had a much better meal that long flight instead of a mouth full of fish bones. But I learned. Six hours later when my flight finally came to an end, I was grateful to see the people I would be serving with for the next 3 months waiting for me and that day the Lord and I began a long dialogue (that we have had to revisit many times since) about me trusting Him to take care of my every needs, and to not fear, whether I speak the language or not; because God alw
ays provides, always takes care of His children, and always gives us His peace which surpasses all understanding... God never intended for us to have what is "good enough" but He has designed for us to have what is best... even when it comes to a simple meal on an airplane.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?"
Psalm 27:1a

And yes... these are actual photos I took while on that trip.
The top one from my plane in Moscow (on the return trip)
and this bottom one was the view from my apartment in Siberia.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you have to say about my world?