If you’ve ever had a day when it seemed like the sky might fall on you, you know how I felt one early morning in 1998 when I was gently awakened by a persistent creaking from our ceiling.
I groaned. This was the five-star resort in Kushadasi, Turkey, where tourists come by boatloads to see Mary’s House and the New Testament City of Ephesus. Stationed an hour away, I’d come with my family to enjoy the grand accommodations of the Pine Bay Holiday Resort.
As I lay in bed, I started wondering whether the sound was creaking or crackling. Remembering my fifth-grade Junior Fire Chief training, I knew crackling usually accompanies fire. Standing slowly on our bed, I touched the ceiling to feel for heat. It was warm.
A choking panic filled my throat, and I woke my sleeping bride.
“Honey!” I called as she awakened in time to see me standing inches from her face. “I hear crackling upstairs and the ceiling feels warm.”
She heard it too, so she asked me to double check.
I did, and I responded with laughter when I realized the ceiling was warmed by a heating vent. Since we didn’t smell smoke, we agreed the noise surely was the early risers in the room above us.
Snuggled back in bed together, I mumbled something we’d both forgotten: “Our hotel wing is one story; there are no rooms upstairs.”
At that, Becky reopened her eyes in time to spot a crack in the ceiling.
As she contemplated the predicament, the crack shot across the room to the percussion of an ever-loudening creak.
“Norris!” she screamed as she erupted from bed to snatch our youngest. I did the same with our son, and we bolted to the adjoining room where our eldest two were sleeping.
From the safety of their room, we heard a roaring crescendo
from inside ours. Nearly the entire ceiling had fallen.
And as if that wasn’t horrible enough, the ceiling chards lying atop our pillows had the weight of stone and could have caused serious head injuries. Thankfully, Becky gave us the early warning we needed.
Of course, there is no shortage of people who warn of a falling sky. In our case, Becky’s warning was correct and our “sky” fell, but most of the time when people tell you the sky is falling, it’s not.
There always will be preachers who predict the coming apocalypse, media nay-sayers who warn of a Roman Empire-like fall, or an intelligence community warning of nuclear clouds.
They will issue these warnings because fear always is lucrative. But before you dig a shelter, build your panic room or convert your cash to gold, consider a few things.
First, consider the source of the warning. Do the nay-sayers have your best interest in mind?
I trusted my wife to tell me the sky was falling because I know she loves her family.
God always has our best interest in mind, so it’s helpful to remind the fearful Chicken Littles of the power that holds the sky in place. That power is God.
Job 26:7 says: “God spreads the skies over unformed space and hangs the Earth out in empty space.”
That tells me the sky has been precarious since creation. We’re hanging in empty space held up only by our creator.
Finally, before heeding so much fearful testimony, consider the Apostle Paul’s testimony to Timothy: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Burkes is a former civilian hospital chaplain and an Air National Guard chaplain. Write firstname.lastname@example.org or visit thechaplain.net. You can also follow him on Twitter, username is “chaplain,” or on Facebook at facebook.com/norrisburkes.