When I Am Afraid ... Not "If"


When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3

"I don't know what to tell you, deni.  I'm not sure what's going on."

My doctor looks back through my chart. 

"It could be that your thyroid has finally burnt out after your bout of hyperthyroid.  That sometimes happens."

I have already found out that what I thought was cellulitis on my ankle would most likely be from a blot clot in a deep bruise.  "Nothing to worry about," he had said, "But stay on the antibiotics in case it is cellulitis. I really don't think it is, though."

He hands me a sheaf of paperwork for labwork.

"We'll see what we uncover."

My son pushes my wheelchair out of the office.

I'm tired.  My emotions feel thin.  I want to cry.  I want answers.  Again.  What is wrong this time?  What waits around the corner?

Once home, I lie in my recliner and gaze over at the area of my bedroom that is dedicated to my artwork.  The enticing papers and colors beckon, but even moving exhausts me.

Funny how many different times in my life I've been a similar place.

Maybe not with these exact symptoms - but repeated bouts of having to simply rest and wait.

Simply too tired to do anything much but sleep.  Fear crouching around the corner peering at me.

Yesterday's verse echoes through my mind.

"Fear not, I am with you."

"Fear not, I am with you."

"Fear not, I am with you.

Over and over again, I repeat the words.

Inwardly I ask, "What is the lesson here, Lord?" for I truly believe there is something to be learned from every experience.

I close my eyes.  

"Fear not, I am with you."

Suddenly, I don't feel alone.  In my mind's eye, He is standing by me - understanding my fear.  It dawns on me ... He isn't chastising me for my fear.  He's not pushing me away because of my fear.  He is comforting me in the midst of that fear.

He understands.

I feel as if a weight has been rolled off of me.

As a child, I was told over and over not to be afraid - that there wasn't anything to be afraid of.  To ... well ... buck up and take it on the chin.

I realize how long fear has shared my world. I was the "scaredy cat" of the neighborhood. It's been something to be ashamed of.  Something to feel "less than" about.  

Yet, here is my Shepherd, looking at me with compassion and telling me not to be afraid.  Not because there may be nothing to fear, or that it's wrong to be afraid ... but because He is with me.

"Fear not, I am with you."

The words take on new meaning.  I feel comforted.  Encouraged.  Yes, I'm still tired.  No, I don't have any answers.  Yes, I wish I was suddenly better.

But this time is different.

I know that HE is with me, loving me.  

Even when I am afraid.

Father God, Thank You for the lessons learned in this life of chronic challenges.  Thank You that You can "grow us up" spiritually with each new circumstance we face.  And, Lord? Thanks for being here.  Amen and amen.

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