It was as though the doctor knew me and my tendency to try to find answers. To try to see into an unknown future.
“I don’t think your daughter had a stroke. She is healthy, and she shows no signs of one.”
I looked at the doctor in wide-eyed disbelief because this thought never entered my mind. Apparently a stroke was one of the reasons a person may develop a tendency to go cross-eyed.
We spent the next several minutes talking about possible outcomes. The best and the worst.
And while I went to the pediatric ophthalmologist for answers, I walked out to the car with my three-year-old with more questions. As soon as I left the building, they popped into my head like clockwork.
Would our daughter need surgery? And if so, did the need to have one go beyond a cosmetic correction? I didn’t think to ask these while I sat in the patient room, watching my daughter be her usual carefree self. I wanted to run back into the office and hunt the doctor down, but remembered I had his personal phone number in my purse.
Home was over an hour away, so I stopped to get gas and water at a convenient store. I was several days into a fast our church was doing together, and I was hungry. Really hungry. I grabbed my daughter out of her car seat after pumping fuel and thought about what the store may have that was on our list of approved foods.
Not seeing many options for food, I paid for my water and rummaged through my purse for my keys for several minutes. Then, my heart sank. They were sitting inside the locked car, along with my cell phone. My level of anxiety escalated, and I realized the only phone number I remembered for my husband was his work cell.
On days like this, I have to remember to breathe.
In and out. The deeper the breaths, the better. It’s one thing when you’re trying to keep yourself calm, but quite another when you’re trying to calm your toddler, who’s been sitting in a doctors office for hours.
With the help of a local towing company, our day was saved for complete disaster. And as I drove home with worship music playing after breaking my fast at Subway, God spoke to my worried, tired heart.
When we worry about the future, we can find rest in knowing God is already there.
“ I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
Revelation 22:13 NIV
As it turned out, I was worried about a lot of things other than my daughter’s eyes. So while I sang worship melodies, I gave each of them to the Father, one by one.
No matter how hard we try, we can’t control the future. I know this may seem obvious, but don’t we try? We race ahead and fuel our anxiety with endless what-if scenarios, but nothing changes except our heart rate and maybe our blood pressure.
Jesus knew our tendency to worry about an unknown future. This is why he spoke about it on more than one occasion, and reminded us of the value we each have in the eyes of the Father.
What if instead of trying to predict the future, we trusted God to act out of his goodness and mercy?
What if we trusted he is there, even when the future doesn’t look the way we wanted?
So often, I base my security on the need for a guarantee. And since there are few guarantees in life, I’m left restless and floundering.
But the fact is, I do have a guarantee. And so do you. I am guaranteed Christ’s presence, and bright hope and future, no matter what. I’m promised that his peace will surround me as I choose to focus on his character rather than the things I don’t yet know.
The presence of an unknown future or even an unwanted one doesn’t mean God has left.
It is an invitation to invite him into our situation. He doesn’t promise to spare us from the hard, but he does promise he will never leave. He tells us what matters to us matters to him, and that he loves us with a love that never stops.
As I got closer to our mountaintop home that night, my cheeks were wet with tears. But I wasn’t crying because I was afraid. I was crying because my awe over the goodness of a God whose power shines in our weakness.
In my new book, Shift, I talk more about how we can trust God in the midst of the unknown, and find a firm foundation for our souls. I also talk about ways you can see his hand in everyday moments that we often overlook. You can pick up your copy of Shift by clicking the image below.