Fear. Worry. Anxiety. They have a way of enveloping you in their tentacles and squeezing the breath right out of you. Once they have grabbed hold, you are alive but do not live; time passes by, but stands still for you. I am all too familiar. When I was trying to start my family, I had two miscarriages back to back. They were devastating. Then a friend, 38 weeks pregnant with her second child, loses her baby. I went to the funeral. The little pink casket up front… so tremendously heartbreaking! I wept for her and her baby. What a tragedy! She found out afterward that she had a condition that caused the late term loss. And as it turned out, my test results showed that I had the same condition. And in marched fear. When I got pregnant the third time, I refused to let myself hope. I couldn’t be heartbroken again. I passed the first trimester and you would think that would be a relief, but no… all I could think was how awful it would be to lose the baby in the 2nd trimester. Then I made it to the third. The closer I got to 38 weeks the higher my blood pressure went. I was terrified. I finally gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and only then did I process the idea that I was going to have a baby. I was completely emotionally unprepared. Instead of having 9 months to prepare and enjoy my pregnancy, I had had 9 months of terror, refusing to believe that I would have a baby “just in case.” When they handed her to me I was not relieved but surprised. What do I do now? I struggled over the first few weeks through an absolute emotional rollercoaster. My doctor thought I was depressed, my mother thought I was nuts. But eventually, I came to accept and believe that I am a mother and she was my baby.
Recently I have found myself heading toward the same road. We had gotten some mildly concerning news about my husband and immediately my thoughts head toward the worst case scenarios. Even up to wondering what songs he will want at his funeral! I started losing sleep, having nightmares, but this time, I recognized it. This time I sought out help from the only One who can give it. I realized that fear likes to become my god. And as long as fear reigns, the fruit of the Spirit gets choked out. I lose my joy and peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control. I lose love. I know the verses that tell me not to worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:34) and presenting my requests to God to find peace (Phil 4:6-7), but I have always found that they were nice thoughts instead of actual helps. This time in my search of the scriptures I came across some verses in 1 Peter 5. We are all familiar with verse 7, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” But I noticed that this was the second half of a sentence. Including the first half (verse 6) it reads, “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Why is it necessary to “humble myself under the mighty hand of God” while “casting my care upon Him”? I realized that the other times that I pray over issues I talk to God like He is my buddy. And as my buddy, I reduce Him to my equivalent. And if God has no more power than I do to intervene in my situations… then I am in BIG trouble! In order to maintain peace and joy and love, I need to acknowledge that the One to whom I speak is mightier than I. In humbling myself, I can exalt Him to His proper place – the One with the power and love to help. Then and only then can I confidently cast my care upon Him, knowing with certainty that He cares for me and is able to intervene.
My battle then does not become one against the illness or the bills. It is against the fear, anxiety and worry that exalt themselves in the place of God. 2 Corinthians 10 versus 4-5 instructs me: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Every thought, every fear, every “what if” needs to be brought before the Lord. There He can shine His light on it and reveal it for what it is – a cancer that will eat away at my joy, my peace and my faith. There He will minister to me and give me the strength to not just get through today, but live. To live the abundant life that is mine to have – even in this!