I used to jump a mile whenever I’d see a snake. When we first moved into our home, I’d jump and scream as soon as I caught a glimpse of one slithering through the long grass. I remember telling Peter that I don’t think I could get used to them lurking in the woods and grapevine.
Fast forward a few years.
Today, a black garter snake slithered by me and I called quickly for my little guy to come and see it. He came running over, full of excitement, and we both peered down on it; him, with the wonder of a child who is seeing with new eyes and is safe with an adult he trusts; me, with the knowledge that the garter snake could do me no harm and could be instructional for Little B. I knew the snakes limits and I had no fear.
We had some unsettling news last week about the health of one of our children. After a routine check up the “c” word was used and a biopsy was ordered as a precaution. We go this Friday. My first reaction at the news was an old familiar one: fear.
It’s hard to trust God when you overestimate the power and ability of the snake, the unwanted thing, the illness, the trial.
“I will fear no evil. Thou art with me.”
It’s when you realize that your Heavenly Father is with you, walking beside you, leading you, allowing these things, that you can look at it full on, with no fear, and say with amazement, “This thing looks dangerous, and like it could harm me, but God is here with me and He only allows what is good.”
But, I confess, I glance back at the trial mindlessly. I stare at the snake. I’m horrified and my imagination takes over. What if. How could this be? I’m glued and frozen. I have a headache for days. I cry myself to sleep.
I fight to turn my gaze to the promises of Christ.
It’s a grace to see the struggle, and to immerse my mind in Scripture, as it should be every day.
It’s a grace to see my need crystal clear. I need Christ. He is in control and we are not.
I confess with my mind (if not with my emotions) the truth that this affliction is light, and momentary and is producing something in us–
Gazing at Christ brings hope and clarity and reality.
I drop the self-deluded notions of independence or strength and confess that it is in Him that we live and move and have our being.
“For our light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
In God’s providence, I have been studying Hebrews for the past three months. I’ve read and learned from the Faith Hall of Famers. These faithful men and women serve as an example for me in these very moments– in life’s biggest trials or during the mundane annoyances of life. Trust and obey. Faith over fear.
They trusted when the road was unknown, when obedience meant ridicule, or when health and old age meant they’d have to trust God with their children or lack thereof.
They focused on the God of the eternal and not at their circumstances.
Friends, maybe you are in a place of fear today, real or imagined, for a myriad of reasons. Don’t let fear and the emotions of the unknown shake what you do know about the character of your God.
Here are a few quotes that have helped tether my mind to the truth:
TRUTH FOR YOUR TRIAL
2 Corinthians 12:9 – And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
Psalms 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 –Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
“Contentment does not lie around the next corner. It is not waiting for us on the other side of today’s difficulty, nor is it lost with yesterday. Contentment is where God is, and God is with us today.” Lydia Brownback, Contentment
“Real contentment isn’t produced by external circumstances, but from attitudes of the heart. If you need life to be a certain way in order to be content, you won’t experience contentment very often. True contentment is the result of gratitude and real gratitude is the result of humility. When you begin to realize that everyday you receive much more blessing than you could ever deserve, you are able to be content even in situations that you would have never chosen. When you are able to see that even in the darkest of moments there are things for which to be thankful, then you are able to experience contentment mixing with pain. When purposes that are larger then your own momentary happiness are what capture your heart and structure your activity, you are able to be content even when things aren’t going your way.” Paul Tripp, after his daughter was hit by an SUV.
“The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.” Elisabeth Elliot
He’s too good to give us something that is bad for us.
He’s too loving a friend to leave us.
Knowing who is in control keeps the trial from terrifying you, but only when you think within the bounds of Scripture, choose to renew your mind, and act in faith.
P.S: I do believe in the power of prayer and ask that you’d keep our family in your prayers. We are praying that it is nothing, but trusting God with the outcome. Thank you!