Sunday, July 6, 2008

What If?

I have always struggled with fear. In my first year of college, I knew 9 people who died. By the end of that semester, I had great fear when friends would leave for the weekend. I always wondered who would be next to go.

I expected and prepared for a similar reaction following Lia's death. But the level of fear has become much more intense. By June, my fears had become full blown anxiety - right when my husband was gone for 3 weeks. I feared every sound in my house, every storm that blew overhead. It was as if every form of evil and peril had its purposes set on our destruction. All I could think of was the "what-ifs" What if my daughter dies in her sleep. What if someone breaks into our house. What if we are hit by a tornado. What if Mark's jet goes down. What if....

A wise friend once told me that we don't live with what-ifs, we live in what is. As I sat one night with storms quickly approaching our home, I thought and journaled about the what-if life I had come to live. How was it that I endured the death of my daughter with such strength and clarity but am completely panic stricken due to an approaching storm. And then I realized - the God of the Universe, the Great I Am, is not the god of "what-ifs". You see, what-if is purely speculating. It is taking myself to an imaginary land of horror and asking God to meet me there and give me peace. But God is not the god of that land. In fact, He isn't even present there. So no wonder I feel the darkness closing in and the fear surrounding me. When I choose to enter the land of what-if, I am leaving the security of the Lord. God absolutely gives us the grace and the strength to endure the sufferings and trials of this life - the true, the real, the actual sufferings of this life - not the ones that we fear might happen.

So that night, as the storms approached, I took my eyes off of the what-if and placed them on what-is. I spent a wonderful evening reading with my daughters before bedtime and rubbing their backs as they fell asleep. I trusted the Lord, the Great I Am, the God of what is, to make me aware of danger, but I did not wait at the window for what-if's potential arrival. And God did surround me with an amazing peace that night. I chose to live in His presence, not in my own fear.

Lord I thank You that all eternity is held in the palm of your hand. From beginning to end there is no "if" with you. Lord my fears are so great and seek to consume me! I pray that you will continue to draw me every day into your presence and away from the darkness of my anxiety. Thank You Lord, God of the Universe, for taking the time to comfort me in your presence on a stormy night.

1 comment:

Gene said...

SO MANY people need to hear this message. Some (like me) need to hear it every single day. This is very inspired writing.