Last night we had an unexpected thunderstorm. If you have young children, you know that a nighttime storm can mean Mom and Dad won’t be getting much sleep for as long as it lasts! Such was the case last night. Thankfully it was short-lived and everyone was sleeping peacefully again relatively soon.
Dealing with frightened little ones during the crash of thunder brings up some interesting parallels to my own life as an adult. Because like a child huddled in bed during a storm, sometimes I can find myself overwhelmed or frightened by events outside my control.
What can I learn from my children and a nighttime storm?
First, their fear is essentially unreasonable. We’re warm and dry in our house. The pelting rain outside isn’t getting us wet, and the crash of thunder is just a noise. In other words, nothing is going to hurt us, so what is there to be afraid of? Why be scared of a sound? Yet, despite my attempts to calm my children with such rational thoughts, they remain frightened by the elements outside. Fear isn’t always rational, and that doesn’t change just because we grow up.
How often do I worry about things that are fundamentally unreasonable? Probably more often than I’d like to admit.
Yes, sometimes concerns are real. Problems exist. Pain is real. Suffering is real. Sometimes we know we’ll have to walk through something that’s going to cause genuine discomfort.
But unlike my children, when I face a frightening or concerning event, I can make a more mature choice to focus on what is true and right. I can choose to focus my mind on God and His word. As it says in Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Of course, I’m a fallen human being, and all too often I don’t keep my mind stayed on God, and so worry or fear creeps in. But I know what I need to do to fight back, and by God’s grace, I can grow in my ability to rest in Him.
But this brings up a second observation from the nighttime thunderstorm. My children don’t hesitate to call on me or my wife when they’re scared. Even though we have no power to make the thunder and rain stop, they can be comforted by our voices and our presence. They draw strength and security from us, their earthly parents.
And this, of course, is a perfect picture of the role God wants to fill for us as His children. Too often we go racing about in our fear or worry, trying this solution or that, trying to fix the problem or calm our fears in our own strength, by our own methods. Perhaps we should be more like my three-year-old, who never hesitates to call out—no matter the hour!—when she’s afraid.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t look for solutions to problems. But surely we should call out to God first, calm ourselves in His presence, seek His wisdom, and then set about taking whatever action He leads us to.
We live in troubling times. Looking to the future, it’s not difficult to imagine growing persecution of Christians here in America. It’s not difficult to imagine increasing unrest and conflict rocking our culture. Yet as God’s people, we’re called to be lights in the darkness, not hide under the blankets trying to block out the storm. We can only do that as we’re learning to trust Him more and more and to keep our hearts and minds hearts stayed on Him as the only One who can ultimately help us.
I don’t know about you, but my level of trust and dependence isn’t always where I’d like it to be. Sometimes I find myself anxious and fretful. But with God’s help, I think I’m learning to trust Him more. And that’s a good place to be.
Download the IFI App!
We now have an IFI mobile app that enables us to deliver great content based on the “Tracks” you choose, including timely legislative alerts, cultural commentaries, upcoming event notifications, links to our podcasts, video reports, and even daily Bible verses to encourage you. This great app is available for Android and iPhones.
- It’s FREE!
- Specific content for serious Christians
- Performs a spiritual assessment
- Sends you daily Scriptures to encourage and equip you
- You determine when and how much content you get