I went to a local women’s conference last August and met Trillia Newbell, author of the book Fear and Faith. I was excited to buy this book, because I tend to be a very fearful person, plagued by worry even though I know God is in control and worthy of my trust. No matter how many times He has proven Himself faithful, with every new crisis or situation, I am strongly tempted to worry first and trust later. However, I had a few other books in line ahead of that one, and even after I finished those, for some reason I never picked up Fear and Faith. It never even made it to my bookshelf, but I left it laying on the shelf of my desk reserved for the “on deck” books. But each time I would be ready for a new book, I would look at it, then pick something else. Finally, a week or two ago, I thought, “This is crazy. Why have I not read this book yet? It sounds like it was written as a personal letter to me, and I don’t know what has kept me from reading it all this time.” I picked it up and began. The amount of time I have free to read is not what it used to be, so I just finished it yesterday. God’s timing, once again, is perfect.
Less than an hour after I finished the last chapter, my phone rang. “I’ve just had a wreck, and Hazel [our minivan] is totaled,” my husband said. My brain instantly began shooting around rapid-fire thoughts in all directions, but I couldn’t speak until I heard him say, “I’m not hurt and neither is the other driver.” My heart started beating again in that moment and I was able to speak, and find out where he was so I could go get him. I left the kids at home since I wasn’t going far, and drove to hug my husband.
Now, a year ago, and maybe even a month ago, my thoughts would have taken me to full-blown panic mode by the time I arrived at the scene. I am not proud to share that I am typically a “go straight to the worst-case scenario” kind of girl, and I have been called a worrier multiple times. We are kind of prone to car troubles, especially in the last couple years, and every time that van didn’t start or died on the road, panic came before trust. Trust started to come more and more quickly, as God proved Himself faithful time and time again. But there was still panic first.
But yesterday, as I told the kids I needed to go pick up Daddy without telling them why (and mercifully our normally nosy kids did not ask any questions about this) and then as I drove to the scene of the accident, the only thoughts swimming around in my head were the truths of the chapters I had just finished reading.
I was shaken to the core at the thought of what could have happened. I could have gotten that call from someone else, telling me that my husband was in much worse condition than a sore neck and back. I could have heard a knock on the door and been greeted by a policeman bringing me news that would have forever changed my world. But I kept replaying the words of Megan’s story in Chapter 10 of Fear and Faith, “When Your Fears Come True,” where she shares about the night her husband didn’t come home on time, and she feared the worst. She shared how God comforted her fears that night with the truth of Romans 8:38-39: I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Even if Clay had died in that wreck, it wouldn’t have separated me from the love of Christ. Thankfully, I didn’t have to learn that from actual experience yesterday. But, just like the night I received a phone call from a doctor in Louisville telling me Clay had a blood clot in his lung, I was forced to accept the reality that one day the phone call may bring worse news, and that God’s love will be enough if that moment ever comes. My thoughts weren’t super coherent as I drove toward my husband yesterday, but they were focused on God’s love for me and His great, gentle care instead of on the what-if’s.
And, maybe even more shockingly, they were not focused on the what-now’s. As I mentioned, we have had van trouble after van trouble. We have had our minivan almost exactly nine years, and it has almost 240,000 miles on it. It has gone through four radiators and three starters and several other issues, most of those in the last two or three years. Every single time, worry about how to pay for it was my first reaction, even before wondering how in the world I was going to get myself and six kids out of the bank drive-through or Kroger parking lot or wherever we happened to be at the moment of breakdown. We actually considered, after the last breakdown in November, putting Hazel to rest and finding something more dependable, but we just couldn’t feel God’s pleasure in that decision. We aren’t really in a financial position where finding a newer vehicle will be anything remotely close to easy, and felt like we should not begin that process until we had absolutely no choice, trusting that when God made it clear it was time, He would also make His provision clear. Well, obviously, yesterday made that pretty clear. I do remember thinking as I drove something like, “Wow. Obviously now is finally time to find something more dependable, but I haven’t the slightest idea how we are to do that.” But it wasn’t worry, and I remember recognizing that and actually feeling surprised at the peace I felt. At the end of the chapter on your fears coming true, Trillia quotes the lyrics of a hymn I love, “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me” which say “Chart and compass come from Thee; Savior, pilot me…May I hear you say to me, I will pilot thee.” I knew in those moments that God was in complete control of the waves I felt, He was piloting me and charting this course. And I knew that His promise to never leave me was one on which I could bank. So instead of worrying about how we will find an eight-passenger vehicle we can afford that will actually be worth buying, I was resting in His loving care.
That is completely the mercy of Christ. Spending time in His word each day this year as my husband has challenged our church to do, and as I challenged the ladies to do at our ladies’ ministry two weeks ago, has prepared me for this storm. And this is not even a major storm, when it’s all said and done. Yes, it has ended up being a pretty huge financial issue for us, but my heart is filled with praise that that’s all it was. I have dear friends right now who are facing storms much more crushing. But the beauty of our Lord’s comfort is true no matter what your storm looks like. And His comfort and help is made available to you and to me in His precious Word. I read Psalm 26 this morning and just rejoiced at these words: “For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness…My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.” (Psalm 26 3, 12) I was so thankful for the steadfastness He gave me yesterday. Even though winds came and waves threatened me, my foot was on level ground and remained steady because His steadfast love has been before my eyes. I knew I was walking in His faithfulness, and His faithfulness never fails. My soul is rejoicing in my Savior today. He has shown me His mercy by orchestrating the timing of something so small as what book I choose to read and what day I would read those last two chapters in order to keep my faith steadfast.
The words of Trillia’s last paragraph are ringing in my soul today, and I pray that you can see their truth and find comfort in Christ in the midst of your storm today:
Nothing can separate us from Him and His love–not our fears, not our trials. We can run to God confidently because of Jesus. Take your fears to Him, the one who can carry your burden. He wants you to truly know Him. He is the only place you and I can come and find true rest. He is worthy of your faith and trust. –Trillia Newbell, Fear and Faith
Our van was wrecked yesterday. But only the van was wrecked. My husband was not crushed, praise the Lord. My faith was not wrecked. And my trust that God will keep His hand on us and provide for us in our search for a new vehicle was not wrecked. I confess, my hidden fears showed up last night in my dreams, which were plagued by wreck after wreck after wreck. But although I am sleepy today, my trust is still not wrecked. Praise God, only the van was wrecked.