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Have No Fear! Daddy is Here!


As the leaves begin to change and the air cools, my mind is taken back to the camping trip my husband and I took our two boys on last October. This adventure had been on the books for months. I knew going into it to keep my expectations low and hold to the promise this excursion was for the boy’s memories not necessarily my own. And if I smiled through the bugs and lack of cell service, they would too. And they did indeed smile. On the surface I did too. But masked beneath was an absolute terror I had not been prepared for.


After we got our camp set up in the small clearing deep in the woods, we went for a hike. The boy’s excitement and glee were evident as we navigated unfamiliar trails. I tried to enjoy the beauty around me, but as the last few rays of light flickered through the trees, I began to realize just how alone we were out there in the forest. We had barely seen another person, or animal since our arrival a few hours ago. And with my senses heightened in this foreign territory, I began to anticipate the worst. All the lack of knowledge and preparation I should have done before taking this particular path flooded my mind.


My husband and I are not backwoods navigational geniuses, we don't even own a compass. And on our honeymoon, we retreated quickly from a trail because we were sure we would meet our end if we ventured farther. Now on this trek, I had to rely completely on the hope that the path we were on would indeed lead to the destination we desired and equally lead us back from where we had come.


I found it so hard to enjoy the journey, worrying the entire time we would get eaten by bears or kidnapped by strangers. This was in stark contrast to my children whose joy could not be removed from their faces as they stopped frequently to find bugs and colorful mushrooms. Any ounce of fear could not be found as they proudly carried their lanterns and boldly blazed ahead. They just knew daddy would keep them safe and daddy wound lead them home. Their complete trust mocked my quite literal fear that stole every ounce of fun from that trip.


As I contemplated my plight, it dawned on me that on the trail of life, we are so often like myself that fateful day, wondering alone and afraid through the woodland. After all, are we not all lost in a forest without the word of God as our map and compass to guide us? And yet far too often, even with this promised Shepherd to lead us, we as believers are left crippled by fear in a jungle of darkness and confusion.


In scripture we are promised confidence even in the unknown and offered the gift of freedom to dance and play on the path just like my children. They had no fear because they trusted their daddy. Their childlike faith didn't allow for worry about snake or bear because their father was there to protect them should any trouble arise. They could take their eyes off the trail and enjoy the beauty around them, assured that should they slip, their dad would catch them with his strong loving hands. Oh, how I long to have that kind of innocent faith. A faith that dives deep into the words of my Heavenly Father allowing me the peace to walk even the darkest, most treacherous trail with absolute abandon because I know He is with me. My Daddy will protect me, guide me and catch me should I slip.


You see, this trip was only the tip of the iceberg of fear that gripped me last fall and knocked me down, hard. I spent months wrestling and terrified of what might come around the next corner. I missed out on the joy of Gods provision. I couldn't see the exquisiteness in what He spared us from. I wasn't able to perceive the fact He was with me because I was too busy frantically trying to control my circumstances, never listening to His gentle voice by my side offering His security to me. And the more that fear threatened my next step, the more I became paralyzed to it. It was just as if I had wondered from that trail in the woods and curled up under a big oak tree to cry, sure that I would never see the light of day again. And yet, the sun does always seem to rise again.


A friend of mine challenged me recently to hold to this prayer, “God, this anxiety is hurting me. I need you to take it.” It seems like a simple prayer in its own right, and yet it has been incredibly humbling to say. Almost childlike in its essence. I have tried all the scripture and all the begging that God would remove the angst I haven’t been able to shake from last winter. But this simple prayer of surrender, it has changed things, it has changed me.


I don’t know if I will always wrestle with the trails of life, the map and how to read a compass. I am not sure if fear will try and win again in my life, and I will be so consumed by anxiety I can’t see the hand of God right there with me. But I do know that when I feel so small and alone in the darkness and cry out to God to take the fear away, thereby acknowledging not only my faith in Him as my Father to guide me, but also my deep need for Him to come carry me home, He will be faithful to meet me there. And I believe that as I choose to surrender the fears that scream in the night to the only one who can heal me from them, the more freedom I will find therein.


Because the truth I do know, is that whatever treacherous path lays ahead of us my friends, we can be confident our Daddy is there with us. And I believe with all my heart He is waiting to lift us up from under the big oak tree and guide us down a path to cool streams, whispering songs of comfort over us and providing the security we need to allow us to dance on the trail again, knowing He is watching over us, always.


I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Psalm 34:3

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