"Where's God When I'm Afraid?"
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises."
Psalm 22:1-3 (NIV)
I lay flat on the floor, pounding my fists in desperation.
Lost in grief so deep, I didn’t even think about the fact I might wake my babies, ages 4 and 9 months, napping in the rooms right next door. I wanted to snap myself out of it and return to folding laundry and picking up scattered toys. Instead, I lay pressed to the floor, drowning in a sea of horrible memories.
I flashed back to a boy, a gun and my teacher dying on the classroom floor. Mental images of the horror of what had happened a decade ago invaded my life as a young wife and mother, instantly engulfing me in post-traumatic stress.
Although I loved God, I’d stopped trusting Him long before this moment. The fear landscape of my life seemed preferable to trusting a God who could allow such a terrible thing to happen. Yet all the years I spent trying to pack down the fears of what I had witnessed as a child came flooding to the surface. With it came the exhaustion I felt from working hard to make my world, and my children’s world, safe.
The endless hours I expended trying to manage, control and protect my little family finally fractured my body, soul and spirit. I was a broken woman, falling apart.
And then in the middle of my meltdown, a verse, really nothing more than a quiet whisper, came rushing in.
"Yet You are holy …"
For those of us who struggle with fear, there may be no more important word in the Bible than the word yet.
Yet tells us the story hasn’t fully been told.
Yet tells us a page is about to be turned.
Yet tells us God has a different perspective.
In our key verse, we see how David felt like God was distant and unfeeling, like He was not listening. And David, like you and me, struggled greatly with fear. But despite all this, David followed his feelings with a powerful yet. And it’s a big one. "Yet you … are Holy."
Here’s the thing: God never uses fear as a tactic to make us holy. His ways are higher than stooping to that level. If that’s true, there’s no need to panic. No worrying that God has lost control of things. No anxiety over things unknown. Just the calm, confident confession that God is still holy.
And in that holiness, God manages the details of the whole universe … including you, me and the people we love.
God isn’t just the God of the calm and peaceful. He isn’t just God in the happy and safe. He’s God in the chaos. He’s God in the courtroom, the emergency room, the waiting room and the viewing room.
He is always holy. Even now.
Trouble may abound but God is holy still. His sovereignty takes the pressure off of us to control our sometimes scary circumstances and hold tightly to the things we think will bring us comfort. Because God shows up, we can live our lives unafraid.
When the pressure overwhelms, when we’re broken on the floor or feel like we just can’t handle what the world may hand us … may we find God holy after all.
God, I am frightened of far too many things. Things that overwhelm me and cause me to believe You’re really not in control. And You know how I often try to become the savior of my little world, hyper-managing my children and the people I love, because I’m terrified You won’t show up. Regardless of how dark my circumstances feel or how terrifying my personal problems, You are holy. Thank You for being holy — and for being in total control. Let me rest in the peace of that knowledge. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Luke 12:31-32, "Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself." (MSG)