As our car pulled out of the church parking lot on Sunday, all five of us spotted a cloud of smoke billowing on the distant horizon. My oldest daughter’s voice rose in panic from the backseat.
“Do you think our house is on fire?!”
My husband, in his calm reassuring manner, replied, “No, honey, it’s too far north to be our house.”
As we continued to wind our way home, however, the smoke continued to appear stubbornly in the direction of our neighborhood.
“Are you sure it isn’t our house, daddy?”
“Yes, I’m sure.” he said gently.
As we made the turn on to our street, I said, “See! Our house is still standing. Nobody’s house is on fire over here.”
The smoke was closer than it had been near the church building, however, and the cloud still rose ominously in the west. As we walked the path to the front door, my middle daughter placed her hand gently on my arm and asked quietly, “Is it silly to be scared of something like fire, even when we aren’t in danger right this second?”
I just love these moments when my children ask simple questions of faith. Her blue eyes gazed searchingly into mine, as though trying to detect disapproval.
I squeezed her little hand. “If it’s worth worrying about, it’s worth praying about. If you’re worried about our house burning down, tell God about it. Continue to pray until you’re not worried anymore. The only way you’ll rest easy about your fears is to share it with God.” She nodded, smiled at me, and walked inside the house. In hindsight, I should have prayed with her in that moment to calm her fears.
If only she knew how often I wrestle with anxieties of a similar nature. I fear the unexpected just as much as she does!
I lost my first child in miscarriage, and I worried about it during every subsequent pregnancy.
In my husband’s previous career, my stomach would drop every time he walked out the door as I faced the very real possibility he might not come back alive.
I still worry about my children’s safety, education, friends, training…
My list of worries may change, but it never ceases to exist.
Like my child, I often believe, subconsciously, that my worries are too frivolous to take to our Heavenly Father. I respond in one of three ways:
1) I try to suppress my worries
2) I try to handle my worries alone
3) I keep worrying while acting indifferent.
The Lord doesn’t want us to worry about anything, but because we cannot see the future, it is only natural for us to feel anxiety over the unknown. Recognizing this, our loving Father calls us to bring our fears to Him in prayer with a promise that “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard [our hearts] and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4.6-7) His peace has covered me more times than I can count!
My youngest child is preparing to have a tonsillectomy, and while I know it’s a common procedure, I fear the many things that could go wrong—reaction to the anesthesia, complications in surgery, or even damage resulting from failure to rest properly. Just like my daughter’s concern about fire, I worry over possible (yet, unlikely) scenarios. The advice I gave my daughter is advice I am applying to myself—every time I worry, I pray.
God listens to my petitions with an even greater patience and compassion than I extended to my daughter. God can also take care of whatever is troubling me, because He holds the future in His hands.
Other people may downplay our fears or whip us into a frenzy of fear. God, on the other hand, encourages us to trust Him. The peace He provides does not come from pretended apathy, but from the reassurance of His presence. Even if “the worst” should happen, He wants us to trust in His ultimate plan for the good of our souls.
Cast your anxiety on God because He cares. Keep praying, keep asking until the danger has passed or the worry is gone—whichever comes first.
God is the Creator of both the expanding universe and the invisible atom. He sees the big picture while still caring about minute details. Nothing is so big He cannot handle it, nor so small as to escape His notice.
“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”
Psalm 55.22, NASB
Elihu’s Additional Note: I read through some of the comments on the original posting, and someone said we are “double-minded” if we feel worry, and I’d like to address this.
God gives many commands to His people: do not be afraid, do not be anxious, do not worry, rejoice always, etcetera. God also knows our nature: “He remembers we are but dust.” Why would God tell Joshua, “be strong and courageous and do not be afraid,” if Joshua was feeling fearless? Why does Paul tell the Philippians rejoice always if there were no cause to be discouraged? Would you tell your kids to stop arguing if they were in the habit of playing peacefully together?
God knows our circumstances stimulate emotions of fear, discouragement, or worry, and He calls us to overcome our feelings through trust, obedience, and prayer. Do not misunderstand this post as some sort of endorsement to continue in a state of worry; this is a call to take our worries to the Lord and leave them in His hands so our hearts will rest in His peace.