God delivered me an “aha!” moment this week. I’m still wrestling with it, so excuse any incoherence as I write and process these thoughts.
I’ve been struggling with fear this past year more than usual. Maybe it’s because I now have a baby, a little piece of my heart wandering around that I can’t always vigilantly protect. I began reading Unafraid by Susan Davis, and last April I wrote the following in my journal in response to a question she posed in the book, “…if you could honestly answer Jesus’s questions — Why are you afraid? Do you still not have faith in me? — what would you say?”
I would answer this: I have faith that you are my savior. I have faith that you are the Son of God, that you came to live and die on this earth. I have faith in the resurrection. I believe you are who you say you are. I believe in your word and your promises. But the thing is, you don’t promise me that there won’t be trouble in this life. In fact, you state the complete opposite. There will most definitely be trouble. I feel that I have been spared a lot of terrible things in my life. No one close to me has a terminal illness, and death isn’t a frequent visitor. I’m healthy, educated, and happily married. And yet, I see all the atrocities that believers suffer. And I know no one escapes trouble. My unborn son was taken from me. That was the most tragic thing I have suffered. And suffered, I did. I still do. That’s why I’m afraid. Because pain is painful. It hurts. And there is no escape, save dying and enjoying eternal life with Jesus. But if I’m not supposed to be afraid, then it would seem that I am missing the bigger picture. The knowledge of worldly pain doesn’t go away. There must be something that overshadows that pain and makes it seem trivial in the light of something bigger. That’s what I struggle with. I can’t come to grips with that bigger thing and let it properly overshadow my fears.
Then, the other day, I unexpectedly got my answer as to what that bigger thing is. (drumroll….)
A Sunday School answer, right? Okay, but wait and hear me out. Maybe more to the point, God revealed something powerful about the nature of my fears.
This is the quote that got my gears turning: “There is no grace for your imagination.” Upon hearing that, my immediate response was to reject it. God’s grace is infinite and abundantly poured out, so how can we say it doesn’t touch one area of our lives, namely, our imaginations? In the minutes following as the speaker further clarified her meaning, I saw the truth of it. From the time I was little, I would imagine terrible things happening to me or to the people I loved. I would wonder if my mom would die, and if she did, how would I respond? How would my life be changed? How heavy would that grief feel? I can come up with wild scenarios for how tragedy could touch my life, and it doesn’t take too much creativity, given that I hear about people around the globe suffering in so many ways. There is no grace for these imagined scenarios because I don’t need grace for them. They’re not real! When trouble does come my way, God’s grace will be sufficient for whatever I may face. I believe that because He tells us it’s true (2 Corinthians 12:9). I’m still battling my fears, and I’d be naive to think that I no longer have to keep my guard up against letting them creep in and control my thoughts, but this idea gives me so much freedom and a wonderful lightness. I believe with every fiber of my being that God will always provide for me and give me the grace I need, moment to moment, therefore I can let go of my fear and worry for things that I’ve only imagined. Praise God!