As we look at the fears which plague us, and from which we can find freedom, this one tops my personal list. Last week we tackled fears FROM our family, but this week we tackle fears FOR our families.
It’s no wonder. The world can be a scary place – particularly harrowing for those of us with children. Headline news blare stories about abductions, abuse so evil you have to shut the tv off, car accidents, disease, and all other manner of heartbreak.
But the fear, once it has a foothold in any one area of our lives, grows into the other areas. Fear over the fate or life circumstances of our parents, siblings, children, spouse, and “near” kin can paralyze us. Or at the very least keep us up at night.
Earlier, we tackled fear over things where we have no control. This is its own unique out-of-control experience. We want happiness, health, safety, and long life for those we hold most dear. Yet we have no idea what tomorrow may bring.
Just this week, four of my friends and colleagues lost parents. While one was lost to cancer, and my friend had time to prepare (making it none the easier mind you), the other three were complete shocks. One mother hit by an eighteen-wheeler. One beloved father and grandfather collapsed walking to get his mail and fatally hit his head. Another daddy didn’t wake up in the morning.
Families turned upside down over loss they never saw coming.
In the face of these stories, personal and public, how do we keep from holding white knuckled onto those we love? Staring at the ceiling sleepless and nauseous over what could come? Hearing a fall or a crack and immediately imagining the worst?
What do we do? How can we respond?
1. We trust.
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him… you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. (Psalm 22)
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deut. 31:8)
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can humans do to me? (Ps. 56:4)
2. We remember He loves them (kids, spouse, parents…) more than we do.
What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matt. 7:9-11)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (I John 3:1)
3. We hope.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamen. 3:23)
There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. (Prov. 23:8)
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. (Ps. 62:5)
These do not make circumstances any less hard. Replacing fear with trust takes practice. It doesn’t take away the unknown. It doesn’t guarantee a perfect outcome. But He is the hope as the anchor for our soul, firm and secure. (Heb. 6:19)
And I promise you, He can do a better job than we can.
Our worry permeates our homes and makes our children or family more fearful. Our panic over what may come undercuts anything we say about our faith and our all-powerful God. The Bible is clear He has a specific purpose for each of our lives and we have to trust He will accomplish it in those family members we love most even if we don’t understand how or why or when.
Do you pray for them? Absolutely! You and I should be on our knees claiming verses with promises of favor and faithfulness over each of them every day. He wants us to be interceding on their behalf. But then once we have brought our prayers and requests to His hands, we have to leave them there. Knowing He holds each one: He numbers our wanderings and puts our tears in His bottle (Ps. 56:8).
1. Read the story of Hagar in Genesis 21:8- 21 – Here’s a momma sent away from her home with her boy and left in the wilderness to die. God sees her tears. God provides. Call on this God who provides when you feel fear.
2. In your morning prayers, tell God what you are most afraid of. Acknowledge it. Then acknowledge that whatever comes, He is still God. He sees you. He hears you. Entrust those you love most, and worry about most, to His perfect care.
3. Share what you’re learning on the blog or in the Facebook comments.