Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Faith vs. Fear

The past 24 hours have been, for me, a lesson in faith and in fear.  You see, I have a son half way around the world who has a very, very serious heart defect.  Actually heart defects (plural).  It is honestly a miracle that he is alive today.  I can not say what occurred but just know that in the last 24 hours I have been an emotional wreck, just wondering if he's alive and if he's ok. 

When we were in the adoption process for Madeleine my worries centered around her emotional well-being and comfort.  Was somebody cuddling her when she cried?  Did someone get up at night with her when she had a nightmare and speak reassuring words of peace to her heart?  Does she know what it is to be cared for?

With Benjamin, it's different.  With Benjamin I wonder if he's breathing.  What is his oxygen saturation level?  Was he able to eat enough today without having a "spell"? Is his little fighting heart still beating?

Last night when I was feeling the most overwhelmed with worry, I saw a post on Facebook posted by Kay Warren.  Kay Warren's son committed suicide on April 5th.  Since the news broke about Matthew, her son, I have followed along as Kay and her husband, Rick, have dealt publicly with this tragedy.  They have been posting consistently on Twitter and Facebook both words of encouragement and requests for prayer.  Yesterday's Facebook post by Kay was significantly longer than any of her other posts had been and dealt specifically with the issue of fear and honestly about what she is facing each day as she navigates the repercussions of her son's death. (I have reposted her status update below.)
Reading the words of this grieving mother brought to surface all the fear I have been wrestling with when it comes to Benjamin.  Her vulnerability helped to move my heart to the place where I could then pray that prayer along with her.

You see, I believe in God.  I believe he is sovereign.  What is hard for me is hearing from other Christians the exhortation to "not fear" because perfect love casts out fear, God has not given us a spirit of fear, God is in control, everything will be ok if I just trust God.  My spirit just wasn't buying it.  I've seen far too many feared possibilities become realities in my life and in the lives of those I love.  I want to trust God but the fact is that doesn't mean everything will be ok.  Shit Skubala happens.  It does. And telling myself that God is in control does not stop those things from happening.  So what do I do with that?  I refuse to bury my head in the sand and pretend that everything is alright.

What makes the difference to me is not the (although good-intentioned) suggestion that I just "not fear".  It is the underlying promise (not possibility; promise) that whatever happens...whatever happens, it will be for my good and His glory.  That is something I can hold on to when I'm wondering if my son will live.  Not that God will "make everything better" but that God will take the skubala and redeem it.  He doesn't promise sunshine and rainbows.  He does promise that he will cause all things to work together for my good. (Romans 8:28 ESV) And even though we might not catch a glimpse of that good while in the midst of the suffering, we can be "fully convinced that God is able to do what He has promised." (Romans 4:21 ESV) 

So today I am relying on the God of Joseph, who suffered much at the hands of men but God redeemed his adversities in order to save many lives.  I am relying on the God of Abraham, who in hope believed against hope that God would do what He promised.  I'm holding my fear up to my God, the God who redeems... the God who does what He promises... for my good and His glory.

Where is your faith/fear struggle today?  Is there a particular promise from God that helps you through those times of crisis?  Share it in the comments!


Kelly Raudenbush said...

What a beautiful journey He has you on right now! Beautiful!

My struggle - waiting. waiting on Him to provide as we raise support. It's a biggie. I trust He will but have a hard time waiting!

Heidi said...

found your blog on the ChinaHeartchildren yahoo group. We adopted a "non" heart child but a 7 year old boy who needed his feet amputated when we got home (2 years ago). Not a crisis like yours. However, we lost a 6 year old to cancer 9 years ago.

I have walked that faith journey not knowing what God's plan will be and praying what seem like opposing thoughts at times. "My desire" and "God's Will be done".
It is heart wrenching and scary and beautiful all at the same time. To God Be the Glory is true! His Sovereignty is sometimes scary to cling to, but oh so important to remember.

This verse is very convicting and comforting at the same time. Our pastor Louie Giglio did a sermon on it several months ago, speaking vulnerably about his own bought with anxiety.

Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)
‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

May God's peace that surpasses all understanding be your supply for today!

(our gotcha day was March 28, 2011)