Day 18: Faith is to live without worry - 26 June 2018

By Benescke Janse van Rensburg

Yesterday morning, the news headline of one of the news sites read: "Three dads murdered over the past weekend in attacks." This heading immediately evokes one of two emotions: One, fear. We fear for our own and our loved ones’ safety. Or two, faith. We realize the reality of events, also that we live in a broken world, but we choose to keep our eyes on God despite of it. Here is a testimony of how we can experience peace amidst a storm:

During February last year, 60-year-old Lourie van der Merwe, an agricultural advisor and former pastor and his wife, Celia (also 60 years old), were attacked in the middle of the night in their home in Marquard in the Free State. Lourie was stabbed in the chest with a hunting knife and Celia was wounded in the face. Hereafter they were held in the house for almost an hour with threats that they would be murdered. Chemicals and fuel were thrown over Lourie and the attacker tried to light matches. The matches however were wet due to the rain. Celia managed to escape and call for help, saving their lives.

This is a horrible story. Two innocent elderly people attacked in the safety of their home. What inspired me, however, is Lourie's words in a short video taken days after the attack while he and Celia were still in hospital. He said, “I asked, ‘Why Lord? Why did this happen?’ and the Lord showed me that the attacker was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but God was there too. . . Let's choose to thank God and not allow the enemy to put hatred and bitterness into our hearts. . .”

The story made me think about faith. Faith is the choice to forgive because we believe that God has the final judgment. Faith is to keep our eyes on God amidst fearful situations because we believe that nothing ever catches Him off-guard. And faith is to experience God's peace - during fearful situations because we know that Jesus already conquered evil and that we can therefore do the same.

In 1 Peter 5: 7 we read: "Cast all your worries onto Him, for He cares for you." In Philippians 4: 6-7 we read that God will give us peace that surpasses all understanding if we pour our hearts out to Him. And in Exodus 14, the Israelites call out to God for help with the sea in front of them and the Egyptians threatening to overwhelm them from behind. Listen to Moses' words in Exodus 14:13-14, " “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. . . The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I spoke to Celia yesterday morning. What touched me is the amount of good that came out of this traumatic incident. She is also able to testify that even though the night in February 2017 was extremely traumatic, she knows that God was there, as He filled her heart with an unexplainable peace in her heart.

Let's choose faith today, while we keep our eyes on God. He will fight for us. We just need to be still. God bless.

Father God, thank You for Your peace amidst fearful situations. Please help me to cast my burdens onto You – while staying calm with the knowledge that You fight for me. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

• See a video and photos of Lourie and Celia van der Merwe at

• Also listen to a short message of the couple, one year after the incident at

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