Last night was a long night. I laid down, closed my eyes and five seconds later they popped right back open. I heard every noise down to the ticking of my watch. I heard every creak of the shower stall, hum of the ice maker, scratch of the dog, and drip of the faucet. I listened for Carter. I listened for David. I got up and walked through the house checking doors and looking out windows. Once I laid back down I listened for crackling sounds that a fire would make or I sniffed the air for smoke. As I listened, I heard things that weren’t there. I convinced myself someone was outside and I even tried to get David to wake up and join the lunacy. I was a nervous wreck.
The news of the family in Pinetta rattled my cage. A father and two children were killed in a house fire. My heart breaks into pieces trying to imagine how that mama is going to cope. I just don’t think I’d be able to breathe much less keep on living. How will she go on? The thoughts of this flooded my mind last night. I also recounted my parents’ house fire in 2005. Thankfully they were okay, but they were within minutes of not making it out alive. Tears came as I thought about what life would be like without them and my brother.
Then my mind turned to home. What if our house caught on fire? Which windows actually open? Which way would I go to get Carter out? What if I was too late? Different scenarios played over and over again in my mind. The fear of losing my family overtook me. I love my family so much. I like our simple, little home. What would my life look like without them in it? Even now, tears fill my eyes imagining the possibility.
I know what God says about worry: Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything…”; Matthew 7, “Do not worry about your life…who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life.”; or Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?…” I know these verses by heart. I know that fear is not from God, but sometimes I’m just afraid. It doesn’t matter how much I fight these thoughts or how many scriptures I quote, fear still takes over.
But being afraid for a moment (or for the night) and living in fear are two different things. Fear of losing my family is a huge deal, but I can’t constantly live in that fear. Worry and fear will begin to control and suck the life out of me. I have to bring my fears to God, no matter how hard it is. I have to trust him with my life and the lives of my family members even when I want nothing but safety and protection. God knows best and I have to keep reminding myself of that reality.
That doesn’t stop me from questioning or doubting or not understanding; it just means I bring my doubts, questions, and misunderstandings to God. I ask him why. Why would he allow such pain and devastation to occur in the life of this local family? Why didn’t he intervene? I tell him I think it’s unfair and that I don’t know how I would survive if it happened to me. I tell him I’m afraid-afraid to be alone, afraid to lose my family. But when I’m done with asking and telling, I ask him for his help. I ask him to help me trust him and teach me how to surrender my fears. I ask for continual strength to bring him my fears and not wallow in them day after day, even when I don’t understand his decisions or directions. I pray for this family who is hurting so much and I ask God to be the source of comfort that no one else could possibly be. And I have to believe that God will do what he sees fit in all aspects of life. “Not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your lovingkindness, because of your truth.” Psalm 115:1