Panic sneaks up on me in the dead of night. I turn over and gaze sleepily at the clock. 4am.
All is quiet in the house except for my heart, which has stirred my mind and body awake in a furry.
The runaway thoughts of a mother wanting desperately to protect her children.
Ah, yes!!! Worry. Panic. Fear. The tri-fecta threatening my peace and effectiveness as a follower of Christ.
Fear cripples and overwhelms. It stops us in our tracks and makes us second guess our better judgment. And I’m swallowed up by it.
The next day my 12 year old son will board a plane and jet away from our home in Singapore to spend five days with a missions team in Hong Kong.
I reluctantly loosen my grip on my son’s life and the world seems to spin on its axis a bit faster. Control is slipping through my fingers and I feel let loose.
A boat floating at sea with no anchor!
A peeling away happens over the next five days….a peeling away of the façade that I am my children’s protector; that I hold my children’s safety in my hands.
I am a prayer warrior these five days without my son. I am committed. I am on my knees and reading the Word. I am clinging to the only true protection my son has….the protection offered by our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Word is my life vest. Christ, my lifeguard. My son’s lifeguard. And I cling closer to shore those five days and always keep my life vest in reach.
I write these very words December 14th, 2012 as a gunman breaks through the front doors of Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 first graders and 6 adults.
And the world’s foundation seems to shatter. Families crumble and we all try to make sense of the senseless.
We mourn with those families and ask why and we hug our very own first graders a bit tighter that night.
Some things are not meant to be understood this side of heaven. Some things will just never make sense.
And we’ve all heard the clichéd expression “God won’t give us anything we can’t handle.”
I assure you those parents at Sandy Hook Elementary were indeed given more that day than any one person can bear alone.
So can I clear up this misconception…..no where does the Word of God state that we will not face things in this life that we can’t handle (The verse often misquoted (1 Corinthians 10:13) refers to temptation, rather than suffering.) If we watch the news for more than a few minutes, we will see life overflowing with circumstances that could drown us in despair.
And why would we need to make room for the Lord in our hearts if we could handle everything on our own strength and resolve?
Even Jesus cried out to his Father the night before his death, “My soul is overwhelmed with suffering to the point of death.” Jesus did not face the darkness of night alone, or the suffering he knew would come with day’s light. He reached for His, and our, Father in heaven.
Our Savior knows of suffering. Who better to comfort us in our suffering, than the one who took all of life’s suffering upon himself?
When we acknowledge this life does indeed hand us more than we can handle on our own, we then find God’s promises. His promise to be faithful to meet us in the midst of the senseless and the why’s of life. His promise to carry the load of this life when we can’t manage the weight.
We have a God who cares. A God who carries!!
“cast all your anxieties on Him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Evil exists. There is no escaping it here on earth. But our God ultimately wins this war!!! Evil will one day be smothered, snuffed out and forever restrained.
And so I anchor my soul to the Lifeguard who is stronger than the biggest wave. I tether myself to the Life vest that is truly unsinkable. And I race toward that Lighthouse that shines light in the most violent of storms, and rest in the shadow of our Almighty God.
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.