“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Corrie Ten Boom
He comes to me mid-summer and declares he’s finished with “kid bibles”. He wants the whole story–he wants the whole truth, not just the trimmed up version. I’m overjoyed at his enthusiasm for the Word and before I remember what he will be reading in the whole Bible, we’ve purchased it and made it halfway home.
Then I’m thinking about Samson, and David, Bathsheba and Rahab, Solomon and his Songs. There’ll be some explaining to do, and I try not to fret over the words he’s yet to read, the ones that make me twitch uncomfortable even as a knowing adult–perhaps more so because of that fact.
I trust God with this–withholding the Word from him never crossed my mind.
This child’s heart is tender towards the Lord. I don’t know what it is exactly, except that I’ve often said he has a direct line to the Holy Spirit. They’ve got some amazing connection happening and he hears and senses the spiritual world in ways difficult to describe. He’s also plagued with anxiety. The real kind. The kind that when it peaks, causes tummies to churn.
We’ve managed pretty well. He’s made huge progress but as we’e standing there in the youth bible aisle, he rubs his hands and pales a bit. “The words are so small in these bibles” He rubs his hands nervously against each other. I know that look in his eyes and my stomach begins to drop.
“You can read them”, I assure him, flipping one open to compare it to another version. “See–these aren’t so bad, you’ve read print this small before”.
Frowning, he sighs and his lips press tight together. We look at every single version in the collection. Twice. And then again. He chooses at last, and he’s both happy and terrified at the decision he’s just made. We ride home, both of us fretting over different reasons that the Word scares us.
Later that afternoon, he comes and asks me how he can stop worrying. I hate this for him, this anxiety that squeezes the innocence right from him, this boa constrictor, a generational curse suffocating the joy right out of life–this anxiety hangs heavy on the family tree.
I pull from my drawer the sticky tabs I’ve been saving. Markers purchased for just this occasion.
“We’ll go through your bible and mark every singe verse on worry and fear” I tell him.
He claps nervously, bouncing on his toes. I’ve just given him a small glimmer of hope, a rope to pull him out.
We begin marking them, looking them up in the back and flipping the pages back and forth. There’s relief washing clean over him, and I’m whispering prayers for healing and peace as we walk through the Word.
It’s finished and he beams, “That’s a lot of verses!”
“I know it and isn’t it wonderful that God gives so many reminders to those of us who need them”! I cheer him on with a hug and a trembling smile.
He comes to me a few more times through out the day, asking questions, figuring out this whole grown-up bible thing, and we pray for the worry to go. We pray.
That’s all we can do when the worry won’t quit –we dig in and find ourselves immersed in truth to overcome the lies of fear and anxiety. We bind the lies that tell us We’ll never be________, and the dreams we dream will never come true. We wallop the worry with truth that says God’s bigger and He has this.
Because walking around with worry is like wearing lead boots in the ocean of despair. We’ll drown down there without a rope of hope to pull us up.
These words strung up in Matthew, they offer that line we need:
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:27-33
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