In the past 48 hours I’ve been challenged. I’ve written about fear a couple of times and I know all the moms out there can relate. When you become a mom, you get a real test in trusting God. It’s a challenge to trust God with my own life, it’s a little easier to believe God for someone else, but when it comes to my children, I want control.
A couple of days ago, a young couple from my Sunday school class found themselves at the local children’s hospital with their 22 month old son on life support. Their “normal” day suddenly interrupted with a tragic accident. You can be so protective of your children, safety proof your home, watch them diligently, and still…accidents happen. As I drove to the hospital, I fought back tears as I thought of my 2 ½ year old. I couldn’t fathom their pain. But I saw the grace of God in action. I’ve written before that God has spoken into my life, “My grace is sufficient.” I’ve struggled to believe that. Believe it in a real live way with faith that moves. But I saw it in that young mother at the hospital. I picked up my children, went home, put them to bed, and settled onto the couch to wait for the news. Moments later, fear and horror slapped me in the face again. When I couldn’t imagine something worse, there it was. Another loss…this time, a child the age of my oldest daughter and unbelievably, with her brother behind the wheel of the car that hit her. I can’t begin to imagine what a parent does in that situation. You can be so protective of your children, safety proof your home, watch them diligently, and still…accidents happen. It makes me want to never leave the house again. It makes me want to let our two girls sleep in our room every night until they graduate. It makes me want to never let them out of my sight again. For now anyway.
I keep remembering a Beth Moore Bible study I did a couple of years ago called Believing God. I remember coming to a real turning point with one question in particular. She asked us to list what could happen if you really believed God, if you gave him everything, if you trusted Him completely. I wrote things like, I could lose someone I love, we could lose a job, we could get sick. But I also wrote things like, true joy, blessing, fulfill my purpose, peace, being able to truly know and see God. The next thing she asked was for you to list what could happen if you didn’t believe God, if you didn’t trust Him with everything. It was so clear. All of the terrible things I listed could still happen…but none of the good things. I wasn’t warding off trials with worry. I wasn’t keeping bad things from happening by not trusting Him. I was missing out on the whole purpose, the whole point, the really good stuff, I was missing out on the greatest thing in this life, Jesus himself. Satan still tells the same lie he’s told since the Garden of Eden. “You will not surely die” might as well be “God is a liar”. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God…” might as well be “God is keeping the good stuff from you. If you trust Him, you’re screwed, you’re missing out!” (Gen. 3) But Satan is the father of lies. Why do we trust him more than we trust God? Is it because sometimes we are more like him? Is it because deep down (and sometimes not so deep down) we want to be God? Goodness, there’s a rabbit trail I could write pages and pages on.
Anyway, back to the fear and where I am right now. There’s one more thing that really stands out from another Beth Moore study called The Patriarchs. There was a drawing of bookends with books in between. We had to write on the binders of the books all the really tough questions we had. Today I might write…why did you let an only child, who took his parents almost four years to conceive, fall headfirst into an old sump pump?...or…why did you allow two children to suffer such tragedy in such an amazing family? But on one bookend was written GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY and on the other was GOD’S UNFAILING LOVE. All those difficult questions fall between those two truths.
James 4:14 says Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. But it also says in 2 Peter 3:28 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. Right now, for these families, I would imagine a day feels like a thousand years but not the reverse. But I like to think of it like my friend, Stu Southard, who says that if a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day then those who pass on before us will get a couple of steps in and then we’ll be right there. I absolutely don’t intend to diminish the pain and suffering here. The pain seems unbearable. But it is where he draws us close, where he shows up BIG, where he refines us. Would I choose it? No. Am I in a place of saying, “Whatever it takes Lord! Me…my family…your will be done!” Honestly? No. But I’m weak. I’m a sinner. I’ve got no power of my own. And my sin is even worse that I’ll ever know or acknowledge. But I don’t despair. Because my hope is in Christ. Christ alone. And as I preach the gospel to myself I’m also reminded that if we knew what God knows, all of it, we would do what He does. We would. Exactly. But for now I sing with my whole heart, as much as I am able by His strength, the last verse of my favorite song
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry, to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ, I’ll stand.