Fear

I grew up in Southwest Florida. I remember hurricane season with fondness. I remember being “trapped” in my dad’s office building during Hurricane Andrew, which did minimal damage in our area. I remember having “hurricane days” in high school. Our school building was a shelter and so they’d cancel school, but both times this happened the hurricane changed course. So, you could find all the high school students on the beach enjoying the most beautiful of days. Some fear hurricanes, but not me. Although, to be fair, I was grateful to hear that my family evacuated for Hurricane Irma in 2017!

A natural disaster that I have always feared is earthquakes. That was never a possibility in Florida. And when we decided to move to Utah for ministry purposes, I’m pretty sure I’d never considered Utah earthquake territory. But there is a big doozy of a fault line right at the bottom of the Wasatch Front. And the state has been warned that “the big one” will come within the next 50 years. However, given that we’ve lived here for 13 years without the slightest tremor, the fear of that looming big earthquake is easily pushed aside.

That is, until a couple of weeks ago. You see, I woke up at 5:03am with a gasp, to my bed shaking like crazy! I thought, “What is Aaron doing?!?” And… proceeded to fall back asleep. I then woke up at 5:10 to more shaking and thought, “That feels like an earthquake. Man, that wind is crazy!” And fell back asleep. (Obviously I have my smartest thoughts while sleeping.) Aaron, who slept through both, told me the following morning that they had been, in fact, earthquakes. The first was a magnitude of 3.1 and the second 3.7. The talk of earthquakes and “the big one” has since been at the tip of everyone’s tongue.

Eight days later, after spending my kids’ mid-winter break safely in Florida, I woke up at 2:31am to more shaking, but this time I knew what it was. I lay there feeling the ground shake and hearing my husband snore and could feel the anxieties creep in.

What if the big earthquake hits while Aaron’s at work, the kids are at school, and Hannah’s at preschool? Would I be able to get to them? Could we survive? Would our house still stand? Would we have water to drink and food to eat?

I think the older I get the more anxieties that I have. Upon flying home from said trip to visit family, the flight had quite a big of turbulence. It never used to bother me. Now, it makes me scared that the plane is simply going to drop from the sky. Even more than that I worry about my kids. What if they grow up and reject Jesus? What if, when they leave, they reject me and never want to come home or have a relationship?

Almost two years ago a friend lost her husband suddenly. And more recently a college friend’s mother died, also suddenly. Those are also things I fear. What if Aaron died tomorrow, how would I take care of my family? How would I survive without him? What if one of our parents died? It would bring such heartache that I’m not ready for.

In the end, however, I have to remind myself that in life there is so very much to fear. And I can become consumed by fear and anxiety or I can trust God. Prepare for things, yes, but ultimately, I need to rest in God. If the worst happens, God will see me through, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. For Jeremiah 17:7-8 says:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

   whose trust is the Lord.

He is like a tree planted by water,

   that sends out its roots by the stream,

and does not fear when heat comes,

   for its leaves remain green,

and is not anxious in the year of drought,

   for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

So as the numerous anxieties of life begin to creep in I need to put my trust in Him and turn, always turn, to the word of God and to prayer. He is the giver and sustainer of life. After all, the only reason any of us are here today is because he is sustaining us and giving us breath in our lungs. And if one of my fears becomes a reality tomorrow, I will need to turn to him and rest in him and trust that he will see me through. And if that’s the case, than why should I subject myself to a life of fear before a tragedy happens? Instead, I need to be practicing that rest and that trust in my God, who loves me, perfectly.

So, if you need me, I’ll be over here avoiding thoughts of earthquakes and impending doom and actively placing my thoughts and trust in the Sustainer of Life.

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