Fear Not: Finding Peace in a Scary World
It was the summer of 2008 and my wife and I were in the emergency room with our oldest daughter. She was nine months old. We were there because she had been experiencing a lot of pain and hadn’t had a wet diaper in way too long. We had monitored it with the doctor for a time, but, finally, they told us we needed to get her to the ER.
My wife and I “helped” as the doctor and nurse tried to insert a catheter. I stroked my daughter’s face and did everything I could to comfort her in the fear and pain. The reality was that I was just as scared as she was. What if what she was experiencing was not a simple issue that could be resolved with an evening in the ER? As I often do, I repeated the phrase that I have said so many times when life has gotten difficult, “God where are you?”
I was a pastor at the time, but my default was not faith and trust. My default was to question and doubt. To fear and rage. “God, where are you? Why are you letting this happen?” They say Christians are supposed to feel peace instead of doubt and joy instead of sadness. Well, that hasn’t always been the case with me. I usually lead with fear.
In some ways, I don’t understand why it’s so hard for me to trust God when life becomes difficult. I could give you a list of times that he has done amazing things for me and my family in regards to health, relationships, finances, etc. There was the time, one day after I lost my job, that a friend showed up with a collection she had taken up of $700 in cash. Almost the exact same amount as our house payment. There was the time that my wife and I were lost at night in Prague (yes, the one in the Czech Republic) and a person approached me in a convenience store and told me that he spoke English and would take us where we needed to go. I can make a long list of the ways the Lord has shown up.
In other ways, I completely get it. While this child in the ER was our first child, it wasn’t my wife’s first pregnancy. We had lost the first two through miscarriage. And, again, I was left screaming at the top of my lungs, “God, where are you? How could you abandon me again?”
For some reason, the times that God “didn’t show up” can often speak louder than the times he “did.” My problem has always been that when the results looked consistent with what I thought they should have been, then I’ve been confident he is there with me. When the results aren’t as expected or what I think they should be, I’ve felt like he has abandoned me. That is what provokes me to lead with fear.
I think there’s another way. This “other way” involves me being aware of his presence in all things. It is a difficult transition to make and it requires me to experience his presence in some things before I can know his presence in all things. It is the awareness of his presence that causes me to move from fear and anxiety to peace and freedom. I don’t feel peace because nothing bad will ever happen. I feel peace because I’m not alone. He is with me in the ditch and on the mountaintop.
I invite you to join us at Fear Not: Finding Peace in a Scary World. The good news is that the Lord is already with us in all things. I hope you will join us and find out how much more real that truth can be experienced in your life.