Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fear & Trust

Fear is something I have always struggled with it seems. Fear of the unknown (to me). Fear of the "what ifs". Fear of losing a husband. Fear of losing a child.

You would think that after our whole ordeal with our daughter's health concerns last fall, I would be over this whole fear thing. And while it's true that I learned a great deal about trusting the Lord in all things through that situation, there are days where the fear is even stronger than before. It is a hard thing to explain. When I think back to the feelings I had when I thought I might lose our daughter, I can hardly bear it.

The moment we found out she had pneumonia and no neutrophils to fight it off. The moment Ellie's breathing became labored and her lips swelled up during an allergic reaction to the only antibiotic they could use, and I thought we would lose her, fighting very hard to be composed when I felt like screaming. The moment my heart sank when the pediatrician said it's been too long; she should have recovered by now. The moment my heart sank when I heard the first results of the bone marrow test. The week we lived thinking our daughter likely had leukemia.

Those were terrible, terrible days. I remember one Sunday our pastor preached a sermon on David and how David pleaded with God day and night to spare his son's life, even though God had told him his son would die as a result of David's sin with Bathsheba. I can honestly say I've been there. Not in the exact same way David was there, but I've had a taste of the feelings. I've pleaded with God to spare our daughter's life. I've laid on the floor beside her crib crying and begging God to heal her. I've had a taste of the desperation a parent feels when they are utterly helpless to do anything but pray.

The thing is, after all was said and done, the diagnosis was quite hopeful after all. Do you know that there are so many parents out there whose child's final diagnosis is not hopeful but is the absolute worst news in the whole world? That is something I cannot relate to. The thought of facing something like that causes such fear in me I cannot explain. can I write what I'm trying to say. If the fear & desperation I felt with our daughter was so close to unbearable when things ended up turning out okay, how would I possibly bear the circumstances if things had turned out differently? What if God had chosen to take her? I can't even fathom being able to cope with that. See, with each child you have, there is always the risk of losing that child. Of course, every child is a blessing, but that does not negate the fact there there will be some degree of pain involved, and even the possibility of nearly unbearable pain in the event that you lose that child, or worse, your child grows up to reject Christ. That is where fear really comes in for me. In a strange sense, I even fear having another child because of the possibility of losing that child. I believe the enemy puts that fear in me. Fear like that is not from God. Because with the possibility of another child is the possibility of another soul won to Christ, another missionary to preach Good News. Of course the Devil wouldn't want Christians to have more children if it means more soldiers for Christ. And of course, I would never, never, never trade having Ellie even if it meant escaping all the pain in the world. She is too great a blessing.

My heart breaks as I read stories of parents who have to bury their children. Although I cannot even come close to understanding what they are going through, I do believe the situation with our daughter has softened my heart and given me more compassion for those going through difficulty. And I believe that even when the worst thing imaginable happens, God gives you enough grace to get through. (On my sidebar is a link to a blog called Rainbows and Earthquakes, written by a relative who has recently lost her son. It is a testimony to how what God takes you to, He will bring you through.)

Going through all that with our family was a terrible place to be, but at the same time it was a wonderful place to be. See, during that time, I had no choice but to fully rely on God for strength. I prayed more during those days than I ever have in my whole life. I read my Bible more during those days than I ever have. God spoke to me through His Word and through whisperings to my heart. God is not distant; He is near, and He was especially near during those terrible days. It was incredible how he carried us through. And so, in that way, it was a wonderful place to be- Perhaps even the best place I have ever been, in that I had to trust the Lord more than I ever have.

I guess it really boils down to just one thing: trusting God.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5

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