“They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them” (Psalm 112:7 NLT). But I was afraid. I did not feel confident at all. The doctor had just given us news . . . news that I was not expecting. You know the kind of news that you feel all the way in the pit of your stomach. You hold your breath and your heart skips a beat. “I don’t want to scare you,” he said. How could I not be fearful? What started out as a normal visit has turned into the beginning of a long and terrifying journey. I wish I could tell you more, but I don’t know myself. I cannot see the end of the road. There are only more questions, more doctors, more tests.
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6)*. Peace . . I need it—the resting in Jesus kind. On the outside, I have been smiling and avoiding questions about how I’m doing. On the inside, it has felt more like dying. I’m not sure how to describe it, but some days I want to run away. I want to give up but know that I can’t, and I won’t. I know it is crazy, but the thought of spending some time in the psych ward has actually sounded alluring. My mind has been on the flesh—on what I can think and feel and see—and not on what I know. I know this:
- Light will dawn in the darkness. (Psalm 112:4)
- God’s grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- He knows how weak I am. (Psalm 103:14).
- His word, His way, His commands are sure, right, and pure. (Psalm 19:7-8).
- Eternal glory is worth the living and fighting. (Romans 8:18).
- He is God in the good and the bad. (Job 1:21 & 2:10).
- I can have peace. (Isaiah 26:3).
* * *
This past week, I finished my readings in Genesis. The stories were all very familiar. Since my infancy, I heard of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Rachel, Joseph and his brothers. I wasn’t expecting to find anything new. But listen to this blessing from Genesis 49:23-25 that Jacob gave Joseph in his dying breath:
“The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob . . . by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings from above.”
I wonder if Joseph was ever afraid. Did he panic when his brothers threw him in the pit? Did he fear for his life when Potiphar’s wife wrongly accused him? Did he worry that he had been forgotten when he stayed in jail for not months, but years? Or did Joseph “confidently trust that the Lord would care for him” through it all? There must have been moments of desperation. Did he pray for God to show him the purpose? To shed light for the journey ahead? I don’t know, but I know that God brought Joseph through it. He made him forget the hardship and made him “fruitful in the land of his affliction” (see Genesis 41:51-52).
God will see us through the end of this journey. I’m still a little afraid, and I still wish I had the answers. There are times of persisting dread, but tonight, I’m clinging a little tighter to His hand. “I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).
- Read Psalm 112. What strikes you in this passage? How does it apply to your life today?
- Is it a sin to be afraid? Why or why not?
- Read Joseph’s story in Genesis. What do you think he meant when he said “God has made me forget all my hardship” (41:51)?
*Unless otherwise indicated, scripture references take from the English Standard Version.