"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. "
A couple weeks ago I sat curled up with my sweet boy in his bed. We'd read his Bible, talked about the day to come, and prayed together. As I was getting up to leave, he asked me what the weather was expected to be the next day. My heart sunk.
Who would have thought it'd be a topic of contention? I mean, people talk about the weather all the time. It's the favorite topic of generations of men for as long as we can all remember. In our house, though, it's been a conversation riddled with fear. Deep. Dark. Fear.
It all started many months ago. Near the church we attend a home in an affluent community was struck by lightning. Much of the house burned. We drove by the house many times a week, and it was referred to by both of our kids as 'the house that was burned'.
Since then, the house has been rebuilt. It stands firm. The people are well. The temporary replaced. It has long left our conversation. Until now.
Somewhere between August and September our oldest has developed this unhealthy, irrational fear of fire, and somewhere in that ever thinking, overly-analytical mind of his, he's connected the dots.
With rain comes lightning. With lightning comes fire. With fire comes fear. Lots and lots of fear.
And there we sat in his bed, his innocent question bidding me to reassure him, begging me to protect him... his little, precious heart wondering, "Do I need to fear tomorrow, mommy?"
And my heart breaks. He is mine. I was him. From the earliest age I can remember, I worried. Fear laced my days. Irrational fears. Rational fears. Worry. Anxiety. It was paralyzing. It kept me up at night. It keeps me up at night. It is paralyzing. And it hits me - nothing - not a thing - my parents said or did could fix it. It plagued my heart, it seeped into every empty corner of my mind and consumed me.
And I wasted empty breath as I explained to my sweet innocent boy, "The Lord is good. He wants what is best for us. It's highly unlikely our house will catch on fire, but God is always good." Knowing that no words could heal his heart or ease his mind. Knowing that when I shut the door behind me after twenty minutes of reassurance that he would listen for raindrops. He'd watch the sky. He'd ask, yet again, about the weather.
And I prayed, "Lord, don't let him be like me." I begged, "DELIVER him from this! Let his life NOT be spent in fear." And I spouted my grievances, "It doesn't even make sense! There's - like - almost NO chance our house will catch fire! Why can't he believe us? Why can't he trust us?"
And ever quietly God answered...
"Why can't you believe me? Why can't you trust me?"
Because I've been lying awake at night. I've been petitioning my father with questions about the weather in my own life. I've been begging for reassurance. I've been wrestling.
My fears are different. But are they really? Because with a loving Father who promises that God works together ALL things for good for those who love Him, what shall I fear? WHOM shall I fear?
Every scripture I'd relayed to my sweet 6 year old came pouring through my own mind, God using my words to reinforce His. The desperation I felt for him to just trust me is the same God feels for me to just trust Him. And, is HE not the one who is trustworthy? Can HE not protect my son and I better than I ever could? Could HE not provide for us better than I? Could HE not deliver us from our fears, our anxieties, our pains, our SIN, not just this time - but forever? Is HE not the one who is able?
30 years. 30 years I've feared and worried. 30 years my own mother has pleaded with me not to worry, and it's come to this; seeing my sweet boy walk my own footsteps to see how my Lord has seen my fears and worries this entire time, pleading me to trust Him... really trust Him.
And my prayer is that He'd deliver us from the worry. That we would FEAR NOT, because our God is FOR us, WITH us, and LOVES us, and that God's salvation would come quickly in the life of my kids. That a holy boldness would replace the empty fear... that the hearts and minds consumed with fear would be replaced with overflowing springs of praise and adoration for a loving Savior who is faithful to deliver.
May we not forget His goodness. May we not forget to whom we belong. May we not forget how this all turns out.
"For it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."