I feel like one of the greatest truths I think I can teach my children is that of Joshua 1:9, which says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." We all have fears and anxieties. Parents know that this is a very real and normal part of childhood. Fear of failure, fear of the dark, fear of being alone, fear of being kidnapped, fear of meeting new people, fear of the house burning down--some rational, some irrational. I have six children and each of them deal with different fears-- some 'deal' better than others.
A couple of nights ago, my youngest was getting into the bed. "Mom, I'm scared."
In the past, I would have said, "Don't be afraid, that is silly. There is nothing to be afraid of..." and went on to explain how they shouldn't 'feel' that way.
Something I am learning quite recently, however, is that fear is real and normal--it's a feeling. Why else would God mention it so many times in the Bible, if it were not a real issue? Rather than act like there is nothing to be afraid of, it is instead an opportunity to point my children to the Lord.
When my youngest told me he was afraid, I asked him why. He said because everyone else was already asleep and no one was awake to protect him. (I have taught my kids that it is their job to protect each other, and they take that seriously.) But, I had to explain--it is not your brothers that protect you ultimately, it is the Lord. I asked, "Nathaniel, how can you be sure you are protected?"
He answered with a simplistic and honest, faith-filled answer... "Because Jesus is here."
Yes! He's 4, and there are times that I wonder if he is listening to a word that is coming out of my mouth. But on this night, he held dear to a truth that I have tried to pass on to him-- Jesus is with us and promises to never leave us.
He curled up, pulled the covers up, puckered up his lips for a kiss, and we said goodnight.
What's interesting is that children and adults alike have these fears, but we act like it's just wrong to have fears-- because they are not from the Lord. Instead, why not embrace our fears and allow them to lead us to faith in the Lord? Today, I wrestle with fear--I have a fear of change. And as I was diving headfirst into these worries--what if this happens, what if this doesn't happen-- I was brought back to the other night with my son. I know I can be confident and courageous, not because this world isn't really crooked and depraved, but because 'Jesus is here,' and He promises not to leave or forsake me.