At church yesterday, we talked about fear. It was the theme in class and the theme in the service. Fear, anxiety, and worry are such struggles for all of us. Quincy's life verse, which our teacher "coincidentally" read is 2 Timothy 1:7 - The Lord has not given you a spirit of fear, but one of power, of love, and of self-control." (J.Rich paraphrase). It is one of those verses that God consistently brings to mind. Fear does not come from God, but God can and does use or allow things we are afraid of to grow us.
In one respect, going through hardship makes you a little more fearless. You realize that you can and have overcome. You realize that in actuality, with God ALL THINGS are possible. It's no longer just an idea or a song lyric. It's an actual experience in your life.
On the other hand, you can also be tempted to develop an even greater fear of going through the same things again.
I guess I have a little bit of both. When I look back on our hardest time though, what I remember most clearly is GOD. I remember His comfort and His tangible presence. I remember His love and His peace. I remember He was there for us. He still is.
In all this talk about fear and struggle, I was reminded of this quote from C.S. Lewis - “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." I think that's what I heard. I heard God SHOUTING above it all - "I AM HERE! YOU ARE LOVED! YOU WILL BE OKAY! YOUR BABY IS LOVED! HE IS OKAY! YOU ARE MY DAUGHTER, MY BRIDE, A CONQUEROR, AN OVERCOMER! JOY COMES WITH THE MORNING, MY CHILD! I AM HERE! I AM HERE! I AM HERE!" This image has just overwhelmed my mind and my heart. I know that God's heart was broken to see me hurting. I know He was holding me close, shouting above it all.
Our teacher, Fritz, told of a time that one of his children had a bad injury and required a Novacaine shot and stitches. He said that his boy was just crying out in pain, and I know as a parent, that it was absolutely breaking his heart. He said how he was up by his son's face, trying to calm and reassure him, even talking about DisneyWorld. Since they were probably in a hospital, I'm sure he wasn't literally shouting at his child, but I know his heart, a father's heart, was SHOUTING to his child. "I AM HERE! YOU ARE LOVED! YOU WILL BE OKAY! YOU ARE MY SON, A CONQUEROR, AN OVERCOMER! JOY COMES WITH THE MORNING, MY CHILD! DISNEYWORLD IS ON THE WAY! I AM HERE! I AM HERE! I AM HERE!" And I'd be willing to bet that his son remembers his father's actions more clearly than he can remember that pain. Our memories of pain fade and muddle, but our memories of those who bore it alongside us stay pretty clear.
So instead of focusing on the issues or the fears themselves, which, once overcome, will fade and distort in my mind, I want to focus on the SHOUT. The shout is the point. The shout is what I will remember. The shout is worth it.