“… He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular practice.” Job 1:5b (NLT)
Exactly one minute ago, my eldest son was learning to drive — according to Mom-Time, that is. Now here we are, cruising the back roads of Surreal-ville, as my third son has found his way behind a wheel. These are the moments when I sigh in solidarity with Dr. Seuss: How did it get so late so soon?
Oh, how far the Lord and I have come.
When I first started surrendering a driver to the roads, any notion of relaxation before my child returned was a fancy of futility. I longed for bygone days when I could see my children’s faces in the rearview mirror as I drove them everywhere their sweet feet needed to go.
But once upon an ordinary Thursday while awaiting my son’s return (in full-on anxious mom mode — and why didn’t he text me when he got there, anyway?), the Lord interrupted my nerves, etching a tender truth on my peace-parched heart.
Sweet Daughter, His whisper cut through the noise, it’s not you who’s been protecting them. From the swaddled womb to the steering wheel, all along it’s been Me.
And in the newfound calm of that moment, tears and chains began to fall.
While I’d tried to control their safety with my worry (Lord, forgive me), He’d been holding their lives in His palm, giving His angels charge over these children of mine … children of His.
That day, God granted wings to my worry-worn soul, shattering longstanding chains that bound my psyche to the lie that panic provides protection.
You see, I’d mistakenly tried to supplant God as watchman over my household. The more I labored, stressed and feared — in vain — to build a safe house for my people via the hollow frame of worry, the more frantic I became. My heart held fear so tightly that it couldn’t grasp freedom. And in my frenzy, I overlooked the truth that these children of mine were born of His vision long before they were born of my body.
Dear friend, can you relate? Do you also struggle with fear clothed in protection’s innocence?
Will she get a spot on the team? Will his heart be broken? Will she make a friend? Will another driver pull out in front of him? Will the diagnosis scar her? Will he accept Jesus as his Savior? Will she tune in to the heartbeat of God?
Whether it’s a son or daughter, niece or nephew, neighbor or student — many are the cares of a nurturing heart.
Lately, I’m inspired by Job’s approach to his concerns for his children, “… He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular practice” (Job 1:5b). Job understood his greatest influence was in a posture of prayer. And I’m reminded that this, too, is my place of surrender.
Because the truth and the grace of it all is, our fear offers our loved ones exactly no amount of protection. Peace cannot be found in the sound of their tires pulling into the drive, in their making perfect choices or in the pseudo-control of my worries. Satisfaction never stays, for life is fluid, so there’s always another fear to “worship.”
The relief we crave seeps in as we surrender fear and control, trading them for prayer, freedom, and the peace of knowing the children in our lives are the handiwork of their heavenly Father’s heart.
God has no grandchildren — only children who’ve trusted Him as their Savior to guide and direct their lives. He alone knit them and knows them, and has kept them under His faithful watch since He set them down in our spheres of influence.
Oh, that our trust would make itself at home in faith, not fear: His power draws depths our anxiety can’t access.
Gracious Father, please forgive me when I fail to defer to You, the Watchman of our lives. Thank You for Your patience as I learn to release control into Your capable hands — for You alone make us dwell in safety. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Psalm 34:4, “I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” (NLT)
Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (NIV)
Psalm 127:1, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
In what areas of life have you believed the lie that panic provides protection?
Where can you trade fear for freedom today? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section!
© 2019 by Brenda Bradford Ottinger. All rights reserved.