I recently received one of those dreaded middle-of-the-night phone calls. At 3:30 in the morning, my cell phone rang. In mid-dream confusion, I brought the phone close to my blurry, astigmatic eyes and read a number I did not recognize. Immediately, I shifted into panic mode. In the time it took for me to open my phone to answer, my mind had already raced down the phobic path of fear and trepidation. It was a classic case of imaginations run amok.
It turned out to be a wrong number; someone speaking broken English was checking on a ride to the airport. Satisfied there was no crisis, I could put my mind at ease. The problem was that while my mind was at ease, my body surely was not. I was now wide-awake, accompanied by a stomachache and throbbing calves—the side effects of surplus adrenaline. By divine design, adrenaline is a wonderful partner for bodily threats, emergencies and even personal challenges, but at 3:30 in the morning, it is a nuisance.
Ironically, what had set the stage for my immediate panic mode was a conversation that took place earlier in the evening. My daughter had called from the cruise ship on which she and her fiance’s family were vacationing in Mexico. She was quite sick. Although she had received medical attention on board, the fact that she was so far away instilled a level of anxiety in me of which only mothers can empathize.
I went to bed that evening and took my concerns to the Lord. I adamantly believed for her safety and health as well as my peace, and drifted off into sweet sleep. Then, a few hours later the phone call came, and in a sleepy and shaken stupor, I impulsively assumed the foreign number was a call placed from the ship.
As Christians, we are reminded frequently that we are to “walk by faith and not by sight” (or feelings). This is one of the most difficult areas in which believers struggle. We struggle not because of a hyper-hormone, but rather a manic-mind most often out of fear of the unknown.
Well, what exactly is faith, if we are to walk by it?
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…and without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:1,6)
So what harm can fear really do anyway?
“The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted” (Prov. 29:25).
But I think I can handle this problem on my own; I don’t really need to bother God with this one.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding…and do not be wise in your own eyes” (Prov. 3:5, 7).
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
When life catches us off guard, we find ourselves at first in a daze of confusion. Often, our initial reaction is out of fear and panic, drawing all sorts of irrational conclusions. Almighty God, however, is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33). Learning to seek Him in those manic moments will lead us to the peace that surpasses all comprehension, to guard our heart and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7)
Furthermore, the Bible warns to “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour…” (1 Peter 5:8)
Yet take heart, because “the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
While the devil is on the prowl, the eyes of Almighty God are constantly in motion to send whatever support is necessary in our time of need. The more we learn to trust the Lord in our circumstances, and acknowledge Him in all our ways, the more we are able to relax, knowing that all power in heaven and earth are in His hands.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. As we hear and speak the truth of God’s Word by faith in all our circumstances, we will begin to see our thoughts and responses line up with His Word. With our mind, body, and spirit in sync, walking by faith becomes more graceful, more resolute, and more courageous.
But cut yourself some slack at 3:30 in the morning.
Blessed Father, we thank you that the evidence of Your goodness surrounds us every day. Though we may not see the reasons for our circumstance right now, we can be assured that all things work together for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. Help us to remain firm in our faith, knowing that we have all the support of heaven. In Jesus’ name, amen.