It happens every once in a while: something I’m concerned about grows so large within me it swallows me up and leaves me feeling trapped in stomach-churning anxiety. I know I should trust God, I know He’s good, I know He’s in control, I know He can handle anything. It’s just that sometimes these concerns get in the way and I can’t see God.
It happened on Saturday. I was at my parents’ home for the weekend, helping my mom pack up. They’ll be moving to Arizona soon for their retirement and couldn’t be more excited. It was so good to spend time with them. For some reason on Saturday I started thinking again about the extreme tightness of my family’s budget right now and that it’s likely to be that way for some time because of our circumstance and I couldn’t even eat the yummy double-cheeseburger my dad had brought me. I think the grinding sound my brakes made on my trip over and the idea of another car repair bill got it all stirred up this time. I forced myself to take little bites, tried with all my might to remain in the conversation at the table. I didn’t want any of that to mess up my time with my mom and dad, but was fighting an enlarging knot inside and a heart that was getting heavier by the minute.
It did get better after a good talk with my mom later in the day and then when I stood between my two parents in their church’s Saturday night worship service and was reminded of what Jesus did for us so we could see God and be near Him. Their joy and confidence in God were arms to hold me up.
The whole scenario reminds me of an annoying brother or sister who, when you’re trying to watch a suspenseful show or exciting ballgame, keeps jumping up in front of you trying to get your attention. All you want is to see the outcome of your show so you yell, “Get out of my way! I can’t see!”
I remember when I was in labor each time, having our baby girls. John would sit faithfully right by the bedside, near my head, and look me in the eye during each contraction. Somehow it helped me to focus on him, specifically his eyes. If a nurse came to adjust the IV or check the monitor and stood in between John and I when a contraction started I was pretty vocal – “Hey, I need to see husband!”
This morning it happened again. After dropping my youngest off at school fear and concern for her (from past issues) dropped on me like a big net thrown over my whole body. All the way to work I struggled to get out from under it. “Fear, get out of the way! I need to see God!” I know God is bigger, He’s in control, He’s good, He loves my daughter, He loves me. I know I can’t gauge my life on feelings but they sure do affect me. I feel trapped by some of these things in my life and get restless wondering how long I can keep walking with them wrapped around my ankles or pressing like lead on my shoulders.
I hear Jesus saying, “Come to me when you’re weary. I’ll give you rest. Give me those fears and heavy burdens. Let go and lay them down. Take your hands off of them and step over them. Now come closer to me and rest.” I’m trying, Jesus! My enemy is so annoying and persistent. He keeps trying to get in the way, throwing up past sins and mistakes, past hurts and the ominous unknown to darken my view and make me afraid. He grabs my weaknesses and limited understanding like the hood of a sweatshirt I’m wearing and pulls it hard down over my face as I’m trying to keep moving along. I’m tired. I wish I could learn the lesson of trust and assurance in your goodness deep down once and for all and not have to keep struggling so to grab hold of it again and again.
Draw me close, please – so close that nothing can pop up and obstruct my view. I really need to see You.