Here, in Puerto Escondido, it gets really hot during May! Whoever has the controls to the thermostat, whom I think would be God, really cranks it up. Compare it with a house in the southern United States during summer that has a broken air conditioning unit and the thermostat is actually stuck on the heat option and it continues to run throughout the day and night. That may be a bit extreme, but most all the houses here are made out of concrete and so the sun’s heat bakes into the concrete all day and comes through into the house during the night. Mine and my wife, Haley’s room is subject to this every day, so at night it really gets toasty in our room. A while back, I heard that if you put pieces of styrofoam about 1-2 inches thick over your roof that will absorb the heat and actually cool your room 5 -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Just hearing that sold me (and really sold Haley)! Within a couple days, I loaded up a van full of styrofoam and laid it all over our flat roof. I put some boards and rocks on the foam to keep it from flying everywhere and it actually worked! Our room was cooled off by at least 5 degrees at night.

A couple months ago, we had a random windstorm come through during the late afternoon. It felt great and we were just happy to enjoy the rare breeze in our neighborhood. Later that night, we were sound asleep and we both woke up from a loud WHAM! and few seconds went by and then again WHAM! Someone had to of climbed over our fence and was now trying to break into the house. We heard rattling and then again WHAM! Half asleep, we jump up with hearts racing. I try to prepare myself on how to protect Haley, our son, Titus and myself from some robber. I can’t find anything to arm myself with except a kitchen knife. I grab it and head out the front door thinking, well this is the worst thing I could have possibly grabbed. I don’t want to stab anyone and I can barely cut vegetables properly with this thing so there is no telling what will happen if I take this butcher knife out the door.

I exchanged the knife for a frying pan, heading out the door with a flashlight in the other hand and a rapidly beating heart in between the two. Very reluctantly looking around the corner expecting to have to charge someone or defend myself, I see nothing. I slowly get closer and closer to the noise and don’t see anything. I think, Oh gosh, this person is on our roof where the noise is coming from. So, now I have to climb the spiral stairs beside our house to get on the roof.

I go for it and Haley is behind me encouraging me as I go. I get to the top of the stairs ready to use my egg cooker as a shield or a weapon. I’m still hearing the WHAM! every few seconds as I get to to the top. I creep up to get a view of the roof, but I still don’t see “him”. Then behind me, WHAM! the sound itself almost killed me. I turn and look and you know what it was? A piece of the styrofoam! It came loose from a rock in the wind and was now rhythmically slapping up against the metal stair rail. Wow, I felt like such a wimp. I grabbed the styrofoam and showed it to Haley. At first, she was confused and then realized what happened. With much relief, we both just laughed at how ridiculous this was. Are you kidding me? A piece of styrofoam caused this much fear and worry in us.

That night taught me something about myself and how I often respond the same way in the bigger areas of my life. I often get fearful or anxious about what I can’t yet see or what is right around the corner. If we are honest, a lot of us do this. We struggle with change, uncertainty, and noises that threaten to send fear through every part of our being. So we arm ourselves with things like frying pans instead of our double-edged sword.

Why is there such a tendency to fear what is unseen just because it’s making a lot of noise? There are many things in our life that make a lot of noise like: negative circumstances, news, worries about the future, negative opinions from others an on and on. But once we get right up close to the noise, it’s often weak, fable, and small. It doesn’t last and doesn’t carry much weight in our purpose to be made more like Jesus. Even better, when we look back at those things that once caused fear and worry we can look back at it and laugh. How was I so worried about that next step? That need that I had? The negative opinion of others? That move that I was about to make? That leap of faith? Following Jesus does not mean putting limits on your life but it means extending and stretching your limits like you could never imagine. Jesus has done that in my life, and I believe that He will continue to do so for all of us as we earnestly follow Him. Yes – it’s harder and brings greater challenges, but the joy that comes with obeying our Lord overshadows the difficulty. Being stretched and challenged by God is a sure thing. He promises there will be trials and tribulations, but how we respond is up to us and shows a lot about our faith in Him.

When we are honest with ourselves, we don’t have as much figured out as we would like to think about God and who He is. Some parts of God may scare us and some things we hear about God may confuse us. We know in part and see in part, but I believe once we turn the corner all of the noise that we are hearing, God is going to be much bigger and greater than we could ever imagine. Now, I commit to ignoring those noises that strike doubt and uncertainty into my life, because when we look back from eternity, those noises will be nothing more than a piece of styrofoam flapping in the wind.

– Nate Tew, GEM Missionary