When the baby of the family informs me that he will be taking a road trip on a busy weekend going through two good sized cities that he has never driven in before, it is enough to give this mother a bit of anxiety.
Of course, he is old enough, smart enough and able enough but…..hey, I am a mom right?
So, the plan was that he would text me when he arrived back to his place.
All is well and good until I figure out how long he has been on the road heading back and I haven’t heard anything.
Since his arrival should have been 10:00 p.m. in the most generous estimates of allowed dawdling time, I begin to be a bit concerned as the clock moves on with no word.
I make myself go to bed with my cell phone on the nightstand, reassuring myself that a text will soon come.
I start to doze off with these bible verses swirling through my head:
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you.”
Philippians 4:6,7 “Have no anxiety about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
What? Wait a minute? How in the practical/spiritual sense does this work out anyway?
I begin to think about all the things that could go wrong and list them in my head: Car wreck, stop to get gas and get car jacked, forget to check gas gage and end up stranded in the dark in the middle of nowhere America.
I start taking God to task. “Lord, I know that I am not supposed to be anxious, but here is the deal. Aren’t you the God that saw that little toddler wander off and his parents and the whole town searched and prayed for him only to find him dead? How could the parents possibly not have been anxious when their little one showed up missing?”
“What were they supposed to say? ‘Praise God, our toddler is out in the brutal cold night all alone,but we are just fine because we know God is there?'”
“No doubt, they wrestled with trying to trust you but the fear and anxiety had to be overwhelming!”
“Not to mention, their outcome is every parents worse nightmare.”
I continue to lament to God, as to why He can’t expect those verses to work.
“So Lord, this is why me and umpteen millions of other parents are kept awake at night! We are just supposed to go to sleep not knowing if a devastating call will come. Our anxiety must prepare us for the worst! After all, better that we are a bundle of stress and hyperventilating when the call comes than lying there in a peaceful, relaxed sleep!”
God is quiet as I wrestle with my thoughts.
I know that He will carry me through pain and loss (he has in the past) but I don’t like the idea that I may have to experience it on and off throughout the rest my life.
It is the unknown. It is the what ifs and whens. It is the trusting. It is the letting go.
I have been to this familiar place before. I have walked with others through it. I would like it to be conquered once and for all at this moment and time.
These are lessons about God and His ways that I guess I will continue to visit my whole life as I walk down this path of learning and growing.
My humanity and the way He works has brought me to observe two realities about His character and my anxieties:
First of all, God gives grace and peace for that which the moment and circumstances require, if and as needed. He gives me daily bread, not weekly. What is given is what is necessary for now and not tomorrow. He provides for today even as tomorrow is already covered.
Secondly, the imagined phantoms that haunt my thoughts must surrender to trusting in His love and goodness. There will be no peace otherwise. He is sufficient to put to rest the non-reality that assaults my mind.
Whether it is in the reality to be faced or the imagination to be surrendered. He can provide peace.
All of this anxiously arguing with God and waiting for texts won the moment and found me out of bed and calling my son, who did not answer.
Of course, he wouldn’t. He was probably dead somewhere on the road.
It wasn’t but a few moments later that a text came in:
“By the way mom, I am home.”