I wasn’t terribly fearful until I became a parent. I’m not a parent who makes our children wear bike helmets in the house, or walk with a leash at the supermarket, but I’m close. Being a parent is scary. I often worry about sickness, tragedy, bullies, financing college, future husbands, future wives, driver licenses, good grades, bad guys, the Internet, and the orthodontist. All of these concerns are enough to send a parent over the edge!
J.C. Ryle once wrote, “Half our miseries are caused by things we think are coming upon us.” I can drive myself crazy thinking about what could be or might be. I easily lay awake at night wondering:
What if one of our children gets sick?
What if we can’t save enough for college?
What if one of our sons or daughters walks away from Jesus?
What if our children get exposed to something we try so hard to protect them from?
This kind of fear or worry does not reveal a heart that trusts God, but rather it reveals a heart that is hopelessly trying to be God. If we are honest, much of our fear and worry is birthed by a prediction of the future where God is not present, active, faithful, good, or powerful enough. Our fears and worries are not just feelings; they can also be an expression of our faith (or lack thereof).
Dan Allender points out in his book, Cry of the Soul, that fear asks God, “Are you going to protect me?” Much of our fear predicts that God will not protect, sustain, or guide. One of my favorite promises from God is found in Isaiah 43:2-3, 5. It says,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
While God does not promise us a future without pain, He does promise us a future with His presence.
We might get wet as we walk through deep waters, but we will not drown. The flames might get hot, but they will not consume us. His word is that He will be with us and it will be enough.
My wife and I have to continually remind ourselves of not just what we are up against as parents, but more importantly, who is with us as parents. If it weren’t for our confidence in God’s character, actions, and promises, being a parent would be a lot scarier. Through Jesus, God has given us the hope and assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us. The future is His.
While much of the future is left undefined, unknown, out of sight, and certainly beyond our power, we can rest in the knowledge that God is a wiser, better, and more powerful Parent than we are. What God asks us to give Him, and our children, is (faith)fulness. God wants us to trust Him for tomorrow, while being faithful to Him today.
May God’s promises and abiding presence free you to walk in faith regardless of what the future holds. And may His peace – the peace that surpasses all understanding – guard your heart and mind from needless worry because you know your God is near… and you know He is good.