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Faith Over Fear

I sank to the cold kitchen floor and buried my head in my hands as tears ran down my face. "I will praise you! I will CHOOSE to praise you!" I forced the words through gritted teeth. My spirit willing to believe but my flesh still desperately fighting the reality I have no control over anything.

I know I have no control and yet I still do all I can in the pursuit of the exact opposite, being in control. I plan, write lists, budget, clean, clean more, make sure all my ducks are in a row before making any major decisions. I prep for my prepping just to insure all goes smoothly. And then Covid hits us from left field and I end up on my butt for 3 weeks. Like really, on my butt sicker than sick. In the meantime, my husband lands in the hospital for 6 days on oxygen battling the same illness. I had NOTHING in me to get out of bed much less care for two rambunctious boys whose bodies, by God's grace, were unphased by the virus. If ever a time in my life where it was abundantly clear that God is the complete and soul sustaining source of every breath in my body, it was that week. He gave me absolute strength and an undeniable peace as I allowed my life to rest completely secure in His sovereignty.

But then the sickness in our home didn't stop. One germ after another seemed to make its way anonymously into our home and enact its wrath upon my poor boys’ little bodies. Every time I felt like maybe it would end, another symptom would appear. And with each subsequent sleepless night the voice of the enemies lies became louder and louder until the faith and resolve I had only a few weeks early seemed to have faded completely and, in its place, a giant monster of fear came to rest over me. A fear of "the sudden", those things I don't like, that I want to avoid but cannot predict, control or ultimately plan my way out of.

As I sat in the kitchen that night crying over yet another child starting with the stomach bug on Thanksgiving eve, knowing my plans for the next few days had just been erased, yet again, I was wrestling hard. Wrestling with the fact my cleaning hadn't mattered. My avoiding sugars and feeding healthy snacks hadn't made a difference. My planning and prepping didn't make a dent when invisible germs and kids with poor hand washing skills walk through the front door. The enemies’ taunts seemed even louder than before. I could almost see him laughing at me as he pointed his finger in my pathetic direction.

"You fool! You think you can stop this evil I have saturated the world in? Curse God and die! You know he doesn't care. If he cared he would make this stop."

I wiped the tears away hard and forced away the negative thoughts. But still I wrestled with God. Wrestled with the why me, and haven't we had enough? When will it end? What did I do wrong to deserve this? And even as I lay my head on the pillow that night, I racked my brain with ideas of how I could clean better or prevent this in the future. All the while knowing fear was dictating every decision and reaction while I tried to avoid the obvious truth that God was asking me to trust Him even when I can't see what happens next.

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matthew 16:25-26 NLT

I have read this before but only in context of being persecuted for Jesus. But when the Holy Spirit dropped it on my heart the next morning, I knew I needed to take a second look. Could I be losing my soul in this meaningless pursuit of trying to prevent or avoid germ, puking, or hardship as a result of either? And as I reflected on my reactions to the terror and discouragement, I had let capture my heart in the last week, I realized that yes, all the cleaning incessantly, washing my hands a million times, obsessing over foods and sugar, being tense and yelling at my family because "I'm stressed", I was indeed losing my life trying to gain it, and for what profit? To avoid difficulty that many others around me would love to have in exchange for the burdens they carry? Meaningless.

The striving and grasping for control were meaningless. I could see myself for the past week treading water, flailing and gasping for air, allowing the enemy to stand over me and laugh instead of throw me a life raft. I had been too busy focusing on all the wrong things that I never realized the mighty arms of my Savior had never left me. I didn't need the false sense of security the evil one was tempting me with. I only needed to slip back into the life boat with Jesus and agree to surrender to His will, even if I don't like it. Even if it means its uncomfortable, or “unfun”. Even if life doesn’t live up to the expectations I dreamed up as a child.

His burden is easy, His yoke is light. Unless I’m trying to pull in the opposite direction. I am so thankful God is so faithful even when I am not. That He does not change or lack in any good thing even when I doubt Him. My heart is overwhelmingly humbled by the fact God can walk me through the Red Seas of life and He doesn't give up on me when the next day I question His provision of food and water. If this is not a great and merciful God so worthy of my trust and worship, I don't know who is. Struck by this reality I again proclaim with certainty that He IS a good, good Father. And I am so thankful He doesn't give up on me even when life’s difficulties tempt me to give up on Him and question His promises to me.

I still don’t like missing holidays with family. I still hate the ugly that seems to have permeated every facet of the world around me. I would still prefer a peaceful night’s sleep to a fevering child or an upset stomach. But the truth is I have no control over when any of these circumstances begin or end. For I am NOT God. And I am so thankful I am not. Because I am much too weak to carry the weight of the world as He so beautifully does. Nor do I have the power in my own strength to sustain my being every single day of my life. All the striving to control will only keep me weary and worn out, focused on my circumstances and not the one who holds them, and me. From my conception to my last breath, He has a plan for my life and is working in the midst of my circumstances. I can trust He will always circumvent the yuck satan may throw at me to try and thwart Gods best for me. Again, praise God He alone is in control!

Maybe today you find yourself in a similar place, striving so hard to preserve your life that you are losing God's best for you. I encourage you to take a second look at your circumstance. What fear has paralyzed you and muted the voice of God? Today take time to silence the noise and tuck in close to the Father. I know you will find Him waiting, a refuge, and ever-present help in times of trouble if we will but take His hand and trust Him with our everything.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So, we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT

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