“We don’t have any kids, and I want to make sure that his gravesite will always have a flag on it for Memorial Day when I pass.”
A simple statement made by a stranger that stroke panic into my heart.
“We don’t have any kids…..”
We don’t have any kids.
I don’t have any kids.
What if I never have any kids?
What if I ask and pray for decades to come for the Lord to grant me this one desire of my heart, and He chooses not to? What if there is no one but siblings and distant relatives to attend our funerals…to put flowers on our graves. What if we grow old together and only ever have each other to watch out for us? No one calling us every day to check and make sure we’re okay. No beloved children who finally take the car keys when we’re too unsteady to drive.
“We’ll just adopt if it comes down to it” my dear husband tells me. But what if even that fails? The Lord can open and close any door; and just as the door to fertility has been shut for now, the door to adoption can be shut as well.
This is when it is easiest for that black slime to seep into my heart. I think of all the what if’s and the how come’s and I begin to despair. Fear can paralyze in an instant and it doesn’t take much for that door to swing open. I scramble to slam it shut.
And so it goes with all our life’s stories….this process doesn’t just happen with infertility. A scary blip on a scan that could be cancer, the sudden sickness of a loved one, the men dressed in black on our television screens burning flags and chanting hate, the bills that won’t stop rolling in…….
Fear comes in all shapes and sizes. It comes suddenly and slowly. It seeps through cracks when we aren’t paying attention, and it will walk through doors we throw open to it. It knows no bounds and it does not leave unless it is forced.
We must force it.
I’ve heard several times before that “fear is the absence of faith” but I don’t think that’s quite true. My sudden fear of dying childless is not a result of me losing my trust in Him, nor is my rushing heartbeat when I hear of more slayed Christians across the ocean. But what I do with that fear? That’s where my faith abides.
We’ve heard the story countless times of a ship and a raging sea and some frightened disciples and a sleeping Savior. The waves are too much and Lord, don’t you care if we drown? The Lord awakens and calms the seas with a simple word and then turns to His astonished followers: “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
We interpret this small section of Scriptures from Mark 4 to mean that if we have fears, then we are not faithful enough. But if I may be so bold, I’d like to offer a different face to this story. Because fearful thoughts will come. This is a guarantee. But we are not held accountable for the thoughts that enter our minds so much as what we do next with them.
Perhaps Jesus was not upset because the disciples were afraid, but because in their fear they doubted His love for them. This is the God-man that they had traveled with for many miles. He’s fed thousands from nothing and befuddled teachers of the Law and healed many. No doubt, they had shared many intimate conversations with one another and developed the strongest friendships that have walked this earth since Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Yet a storm comes and what are the first words out of our Lord’s best friends’ mouths? “Don’t you care if we drown??”
How hurtful. How disappointing. I’m sure that our Savior’s heart skipped a beat as their words lashed at His deepest emotions. Here are His dearest friends questioning their entire relationship, all because of a storm. I can see His eyes widen and His mouth twist as their words sink in. He said much more than “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” in His response: Why do you question My love for you? Haven’t you seen all that I’ve done? Just ask for your rescue and you shall have it, but don’t you know how deep My love runs for you?
And oh, don’t we know the same? With His death on the cross and the sending of His Spirit, we get to enjoy the same deep friendship with our deeply loving Savior. Don’t we know that we have the same access to that same power? Don’t we know that we can come running to Him in the dead of night and He will always stand and fight for us?
The problem is not so much our fear—it’s what we do with it. Do I dwell on my infertility and allow it to ruin my day, or do I run to Him and ask Him to soothe my soul and remind me of His promises? Do I watch the news and fear for my fate as terrorists shed blood and continue to conquer, or do I ask the Lord to send His protection, peace, strength and wisdom? Do I ask for His peace or allow fear to take up a daily residence in my mind?
That, my friend, is the true question we must ask ourselves. Do we love and trust our Savior enough to bring everything to His feet? And do we love and trust Him enough to know that He will always do what’s best for us? Even if the best is hard? Even if the best is sad? Even if we don’t understand His best?
Our deceiver will always be clever and cunning in his attempt to distract us from the love of our Daddy. He will always find ways to introduce us to fear and he is a master at making our fears so much larger than what they really are. We must fight against him. We must run to the One who has already won the fight for us and allow Him to root this fear out before it grows into something more.
Run to him, dear one. He is able to be found and He is willing to share His peace.
What are your biggest fears right now? Have you taken them to the Lord in prayer, or are you still holding onto them? What’s keeping you from surrendering them today?