When Fear Grips Your Heart: The Transformative Power of Trust

fear  trust

Maybe it’s the cancer memoir that struck a nerve deep inside.

Maybe it’s my coworker’s casual comment about her friends’ 18-month-old daughter they found dead in her crib, her twin sister screaming at her lifeless playmate, “Up, sissy! Up!”

Maybe it’s the feeling of my daughter pressing up against me, eagerly gulping down mama’s milk while looking at me with eyes full of wonder.

Maybe it’s the many hours I’ve spent away from her, not just at the office but also in the kitchen, on my smartphone, running errands, working out.

Whatever it is, I feel the fear growing inside of me. The fear that one of these days, I’m going to wake up and get the terrible news. My daughter will be diagnosed with infant lymphoma. My husband will be killed in a car crash. My world, as I know it, will come crashing down around me.

And I have one of two choices:

I can allow that fear to take up residence inside of me and linger in the recesses of my heart, slowly spreading its tendrils of anxiety and panic into my every thought. I can become possessive, fearful, anxious. I can live in the horrendous world of what-ifs.

Or I can give that fear to my Maker and tell Him what’s on my heart, trusting Him to be the good Father I know Him to be.

A daily choice

This is the part where I tell you that I choose to trust God.

But trusting God with our fears of legitimate tragedies is not a one-time prayer. It’s an every-day choice.

When I catch Carissa’s sweet laugh as her father tosses her in the air and I wonder what life would be like without either one of them, I need to choose to trust God.

When I hear stories of others who have lost babies or husbands to tragic accidents and too-soon illnesses, I need to choose to trust God.

When I read about mothers who have buried their young ones and wives who have weathered life as widows, I need to choose to trust God.

When I see the news about the latest discovery of what causes cancer and realize we’ve been using it all along, I need to choose to trust God.

And when I choose to trust God, He provides enough grace for each moment.

Grace for each day

I love how Corrie Ten Boom recounts her father’s gentle nudging toward God in her moment of fear:

I burst into tears, “I need you!” I sobbed. “You can’t die! You can’t!” “Corrie,” he began gently. “When you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?” “Why, just before we get on the train.” “Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need – just in time.”
~Excerpt from The Hiding Place

God gives us enough grace for each day. I’m not currently prepared to face the death or tragic diagnosis of a loved one. But I trust that my good Father will give me exactly what I need–when I need it. And that includes the grace and strength to walk through the darkest valleys and the deepest pain.

lord is my light  trust

Transformation through trust

So what? Now that I know I can trust my Father with my fears, do I just continue living like I did before?

Not at all.

We can harness the power of that fear and look inside ourselves to identify why we fear.

I don’t want to be that person thirty years from now, looking back on a life full of regrets, saying,

“I wish… I would have spent more time watching her twirl.”

“I wish… I would have told him I loved him every night.”

“I wish… wouldn’t have lost my temper with them.”

“I wish… I would have snuggled with her more often.”

“I wish…

Far from being a passive trust, trust in God is a move-to-action trust. It’s a hug-your-child-tighter and appreciate-your-man-stronger trust. It’s a cling-desperately-to-God-right-now and ask-what-you-should-be-doing-differently kind of trust.

It’s a trust that causes continual self-reflection and ongoing praise. It’s a trust that holds what we’ve been given and wonders at the gift of it all. That kind of trust causes me realize that everything I have is a gift, and I would do well to revel in the joy of it.

It’s the trust that moves me to worship, points me to a loving Father who gives good gifts, and causes me to fall at His feet in humble recognition of receiving more than I deserve.

Dear friend, if you feel fear gripping at your heart, trust your good Father who gives good gifts to His children. He will work in you an incredible transformation that takes place in the everyday moments–if only you will let Him.

Your Turn

What would be your “I wish?” How can you turn that into a reason to worship God, either through a praise or through a practical act of love?

Photo credit: dark skies, meadow