When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” Matthew 17:6-7
Jocelyn has two older brothers who are into Five Nights at Freddy’s and other video games that have scary looking characters. No matter how much I try to keep her from them, she manages to get exposed nonetheless. The images weave their way into her dreams, and she wakes up frightened.
I talk to her constantly about not watching the boys when their on their iPads, focusing on things that bring her joy, praying to God for sweet dreams, etc. That may work for a while, but inevitably, she’s drawn right back into a place of worry.
There are some unsettling things happening in my life, and in the world at large, that can weave their way into my psyche. Before I know it, I am focused more on those problems than I am on the things that bring me joy. Especially after a sleep deprived night being up with Jocelyn, my worry steps over into the frightened zone. I feel burdened by it all, and so completely powerless.
I know these are the times I’m supposed to turn to God. I’m supposed to have faith that He’s got my back, that it will all work out, that it’s all happening for a reason. I do believe, and that does work for a while. But inevitably, I’m drawn right back into a place of worry. Then I feel even worse because I feel like a failure at faith.
Then I read the Gospels, and I see how often the disciples were afraid: when their boat was out in the middle of a storm, when Jesus walked on water, when Jesus was seized by the Roman soldiers, etc. They were even afraid when they saw Jesus transfigured on the mountain.
If these men were with Jesus, in the flesh, every day for three years, and still had overwhelming fear, maybe I’m not such a failure after all. Like them, maybe I just need to learn and grow more. Maybe I need more practice turning to God, instead of turning to fear. Maybe that’s why things aren’t going quite right in this phase of my life, because I do need the practice.
Jocelyn is only six. I know from raising her brothers that nightmares come in phases. I am hopeful she will get through this phase, and make it to the other side, where sweet dreams will be her reward.
I need to have a little more hope for myself too. I need to trust that my worry is just a phase. If I continue to practice leaning into God, I’m sure I’ll get to the other side, where peace of mind will be my reward.
Questions For Reflection:
* Are there things going on in my life, and in the world at large, that have me worried?
* When I am worried, do I have enough faith to hand over my worries to God?
* If not, could it be that I just need more practice doing so?