Well, I was having one of those moments in our isolated laundry room when all of a sudden a petrified scream rose from the next room.
“Mommy! Where are you?”
My two and half year old rounded the corner, brown eyes wide and tears dotting her cheeks. I peeked around the doorway and replied,
“Phoebe, honey, I’m right here.”
She ran to me and clung to my leg. “I not find you.”
Heartbreaking stuff, right?
“I’m not going to leave you. You don’t have to be afraid.”
After a moment, her sniffled died down and she ran back to the toys she’d left behind in her moment of panic.
My oldest son shows the same kind of ‘fretting’ except he expresses it in a very different way. From the moment he comes downstairs in the morning, he keeps saying.
“We’ve gotta hurry or we’re going to be late for school. Mom, are you ready? Would you tell Lydia to get her shoes on? It’s 7:00, Mom.”
I hear myself repeat.
“Ben, it’s going to be fine. We’ll get there. Don’t worry.”
Then there’s me.
The night comes and thoughts tangle through my mind with speeds that Nascar would envy. I have to prepare my lectures for school. I have to finish editing a manuscript. Aaron needs to work on a school project. Who will watch the kids tomorrow while I teach class? When on earth am I going to schedule the kids’ dentist appointment? (And all those things are the LITTLE things)
Then God’s word grounds my dizzying heart to a stop. “Don’t be afraid” “Don’t worry.”
I just typed the phrase ‘do not be afraid’ into a Bible verse search program and it came up with 108 possible matches. Fear is worry in panic-mode.
I was having one of those fear/worry moments last week when I sent my agent a long list of things I was trying to do to get my novel edited. He wrote back these words that I’m going to apply to my forehead. “Panic-mode is not from God.”
Throughout the Bible, God comes into people’s lives and speaks to them. The phrase he whispers most? “Don’t be afraid.” Why? Because he knows the human heart and our need for control. Our desire for the peace of predictability and order. Our penchant to worry about things we can’t control…things we don’t understand…the unpredictable.
Why does God tell us “Don’t be afraid’? Because He’s bigger than that moment, that fear, that worry. He sees the entire moment and is holding us.
A sweet friend of mine died last week. She’d battled cancer for the last two years and her life was testimony to the phrase, “don’t be afraid.” Her peace, even in the pain and uncertainty of death, blew me away – fear was absent. Why? She trusted God…her Father. She took him at his word. Death wasn’t so big when seen through the veil of God’s eternal love. He held her, he comforted her, and in the end he took her hand and guided her home.
What are your worries? Fears? In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus reasons with us about the impracticalness of worry in the face of the GREATNESS of God.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
God knows- He’s Bigger- and he loves us with so much love, he sent Jesus to rescue us from our fears. We can trust him.
When the worry comes (because it will), take the thoughts and remind yourself of God’s word…or his love. As an old Keith Green song says, “He’ll take care of the rest.”