I am not someone who is prone to anxiety, but throughout my pregnancy with my Little Lady, I had to fight off worry and fight to continue trusting God’s sovereignty instead. From the very beginning, I worried “what if” something had happened and I didn’t know it. Her older sister, Joy, had stopped growing in the middle of her first trimester and it was so hard not to worry that it would happen again. Once I could feel her wiggling around, my worry changed to “It has been X minutes since I felt her move. What if something happened”.
After Little Lady was born and came home, it changed yet again to “She’s so very still. Is she still breathing?!” All of these different but ultimately the same worries were inextricably linked to the question of “what if she is not okay?” which in reality was the question of “what will happen to me if she’s not okay?”. Each time I worried, I was failing to trust the faithfulness and goodness of God.
Worry Does Not Change Anything
When you stop and think about it, life is full of “what if?!” scenarios. The Bible gives Christians absolutely zero guarantees of a completely safe, pain-free life; even though, for some reason, we often think an easy life is what we deserve or need. Pain entered the world as a consequence of the Fall thousands of years ago back in Genesis, Chapter 3 and has been present ever since. Pain will be part of life on earth until Jesus returns one glorious day. However, I firmly believe that this is ultimately a good thing because it forces me to trust in the Sovereign God who is bigger than my worries.
Worry can’t change a thing for the better; it only burdens my mind. Worry doesn’t let me add one second to Little Lady’s life; it only steals joy by occupying space in my mind that would be better used by enjoying our time together.
Trusting God’s Sovereignty
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines trust as “reliance on the character, ability, or strength of someone or something”. For Christians, our trust is in our God whose character, ability, and strength are unchanging and far beyond what we can ever comprehend. In our lives on this side of heaven, for many of us the ‘what if’ will happen. It will hurt, and it will be hard. The thing is, for believers, “what if” becomes “even if”. Even if the worst happens, God’s character and trustworthiness do not change. That one-word shift from ‘what if’ to ‘even if’ reflects a huge change in perspective.
“What If” Becomes “Even If”
“What if” worries about what will happen and my ability to survive; the “what if” mindset focuses only on myself. On the other hand, “even if” lifts my eyes off of myself and focuses on Christ. An “even if” mindset knows that my future is known by a sovereign, all-knowing and loving God who holds me safely in the palm of his hand. Nothing can surprise my God. Therefore, I do not need to fear. Even if and when painful things happen, the God who has lovingly allowed them to occur will carry me through them and use them for my ultimate good and for His glory even though I may never understand on this side of heaven.
A Psalm of Hope
One of my favorite passages in Scripture is Psalm 46:1-11. It reads:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the Holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. ‘Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress”
Be Still, My Soul
“Be Still, My Soul” was inspired by that Psalm. A German woman named Katharina von Schlegel wrote it in the 1700’s. It has long been one of my favorite hymns because it preaches the rich truth of the gospel. Our souls can rest because God is with us and is our fortress. He is bigger than the “even if’s” of life and will carry us through all of the storms that come our way. Listening to or singing truth-filled songs is a great way to preach to our souls when we are hurting. The lyrics are as follows:
“Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side; bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; leave to thy God to order and provide; in every change, He faithful will remain. Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; all now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know His voice, who ruled them while he dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart, and all is darkened in the veil of tears, then shalt thou better know His love, His heart, who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears. Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay from His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on when we shall be forever with Lord, when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, sorrow forgot, love’s purest joy restored. Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past, all safe and blessed we shall meet at last”.
God’s Great Love
I still fight worry about Little Lady. There are so many painful things that could happen in her life as she grows up, and some undoubtedly will. However, by God’s grace, I strive to preach truth to my soul rather than dwelling on fear. I strive to actively trust God’s sovereignty and his plan for both our lives. He loves me so much that He sent his own son to die for my sins. He loves me so much that He lovingly wove me together before I was born (Psalm 139). God loves me so much that He will not abandon me when life hurts. God, in his sovereignty, loves me enough to use the “even if” for my good and his glory.