My little girl’s tears streamed onto my cheeks as she hugged me tight. Fearful that in the darkness of night our house would catch on fire, unreasonable emotion gripped her blotchy red face. Her pierced blue eyes searched mine for an answer …for comfort …for reassurance …all of which I was unqualified to promise her.
The anxieties we answer to in this life grab us much like Lauren’s sweet six-year-old heart, that can’t bear the thought of being separated from her teddy bear. Life is fragile. We want to look around and depend on each other to get through things that may never happen. We want to believe that everything is going to be ok, but it’s simply not always going to be. In fact, we’re promised that it will get much worse.
We can help our children cope with fear and anxiety by teaching them to pray these Words of God:
“Do not worry.” Matthew 6:34
“Do not fear.” Isaiah 41:10
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 (The Message)
Our duty as parents is not to have all the answers, but to point to the One who does. We can aim to protect our children but we cannot promise them safety. Only God is sovereign to make good on the assured direction of their future.
“Lauren, can I pray for you?”
She nodded ‘yes’ through slowing sobs.
“Lord, you tell us not to fear, and not to worry. But that’s hard. We need Your help. Help Lauren not to worry, and not to be afraid. Let her rest in knowing how much you love her. God we pray that You protect and bless our home. Keep it and us safe. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
My godly duty as her mother is to reassure that she is loved …not just by me, but far greater. Her little heart needs to hear that He is good, that she can trust Him, and that He he cares about her fears and worries.
“Jesus explains the futility of such worry for one’s life (Mt 6:25), time (6:27, 34), clothes (6:28), and even what one will eat (6:31). Such a focus is not only a wasted effort on something that one cannot change (cf. Lk 12:25), but it leads to unhealthy anxiety.” Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary
If the thing I want to be able to promise will never harm a hair on her head singes her life, He will get her through. He will love her. He will grow her. He will never leave her side.
Through the calamity of this world, God does not promise Christians a free pass from pain. He gifts us the grace, peace and hope to keep walking through it. We grip Him in fear, look to Him in awe, and trust Him with it all …through it all.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Night after night my little Lo cried at bedtime, afraid our house would catch on fire. Night after night we prayed together, and repeated those truths to her tiny heart and my overwhelmed one. Until one night, her brave blue eyes stared right into mine and with a small, still voice, wondered:
“Mom, can I say a special prayer?” I nodded, misty-eyed.
“Dear God, Please bless us and don’t let our house catch on fire. Keep everyone in our family safe, and my teddy and blankie and all of my toys. We love you God and Jesus, Amen.”
Our great God hears the prayers of tender little hearts, and understands their fears.
Sometimes it takes months, years, decades, lifetimes …before the discipline to turn to God first replaces our knee-jerk reaction to solve humanity’s dysfunctional fears and worries. But I believe that when God’s truth repeated is alive, powerful, and in motion.
My greatest prayer as a mother is that my daughters will know that God loves them perfectly, even when I do not.
“The scope of these verses is to silence the fears, and encourage the faith, of the servants of God in their distresses.“ Matthew Henry Commentary on Isaiah 41:10-20
Prayer becomes powerful conversation. The grace of accepting Jesus’ sacrifice as allows us to experience a power that is not of this world. Discernment of text that is much more that black and white letters on a page. It’s much more than a good story. He is God. He was here. And now His Spirit lives in us.
Invisible fire, indeed.
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