I am always amazed at God's Word! It truly is alive and active and sharper than any double edged sword. It would seem from outward appearances I am very scattered, for lack of a better word, in the Word right now. My "quad," girls in my house church I meet with for accountability and prayer, are going through Esther. Amanda and I are using Beth Moore's study and Holly is using The Coffee Cup Series (Amanda and I have also love that series of Bible studies). Ralph and I are working our way through Daniel with Beth Moore. Our house church is studying the Sermon on the Mount. All of these seem unrelated, at first glance, other than the fact that they are all in the Bible. The other day, God used Beth to connect some dots for me on fear.
Daniel follows several young men until one is quite old. He shows the valiant choices they make in the face of fear for their God. They tackle these things we would be terrified of head-on and glorify God.
We are just getting to Matthew 6:19-34 in house church. It's talking about storing up your treasures in heaven and not worrying. The first may not relate to fear for you, but for me it does. One thing that people tend to fear most is the loss of a loved one. In my short life, I have lost a good number of family members. This number includes small children—a cousin and a nephew. We have come to view them as our treasures waiting for us in heaven. Part of the cloud of witnesses that surround us. People matter more than money. God more than people. I want people to know my God and Who He is, was and will always be. I trust Him to care for them better than we ever could.
The part about not worrying is obvious in its tie-in to fear. However, God really used those verses in my heart this fall. I was very worried about finances before Nugget came. I memorized these verses as a child participating in our local Awana program. God brought them back to me time after time without fail whenever I was tempted to worry this past fall. I WAS NOT to worry about what I would eat or what I would wear or what Nugget would wear. HE. WOULD. PROVIDE. End of discussion. His way, not my way, with what He knew we needed, not all of what I would be tempted to want, but with what I needed. He has and continues to do that.
That brings me to Esther. Beth took the familiar phrase "and if I perish, I perish" and changed it to look like this, "if I _____________, then___________." Enter the name of your biggest fear coming true. It happens sometimes, doesn't it? God doesn't prevent all of our fears from coming true. If your biggest fear came true, then what? Then what after that? And after that? She had us keep going like that until all we could say was "then God." It was cathartic to think through my deepest fear in that way. It was also interesting to me that what I would consider most women's deepest fears weren't really mine. I have watched those I love walk through those events and survive with the Lord's help. In some ways, they continue to survive in an ongoing, active way. The tragedies I'm speaking of are the death of a child and a spouse who finds someone new (or lots of new someone's).
My aunt, my sister (and BIL), my in-laws and a friend from high school (and her husband) are all in various forms of surviving the loss of a child. I have no doubt it would devastate me to lose Nugget. These men and women have shown me one can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Even go on living and loving God when He allows the death of a child. This same aunt has also shown me God is faithful when He allows you to walk through the death of a child and a spouse who finds someone new. Sometimes I find myself thinking, "Well, this was their/my one tragedy. He wouldn't really let us go through more." Then I think of her. God never promised us a tragedy free life or a life of singular tragedy. God is faithful. He has provided. I don't know the depths of her struggle but I know she still loves and trusts the Lord. I praise the Lord for these men and women who have taught me so much in their gracious, heartfelt responses to tragedy. They didn't pretend they weren't devastated. They didn't pretend everything was okay. They did point to The One Who got them through the hard days—Who still gets them through the present and future hard days.