God tends to calm our fears not by removing the problem, but by revealing his divine power and presence. Author and pastor Max Lucado suggests we think of it this way:
Suppose your dad is one the world’s foremost orthopedic surgeons. People travel from other countries for him to treat them. With the same confidence that a mechanic changes spark plugs, your dad removes and replaces hips, knees, and shoulders. (Are you listening, Dave Rittenhouse?)
At the age of 10 you are too young to comprehend the accomplishments of a renowned surgeon. But you’re not too young to stumble down the stairs and twist your ankle. You roll on the floor in pain and scream for help. You are less than three weeks away from your first school dance. This is no time for crutches. No time for limping. You need a healthy ankle! Yours is anything but.
Into the room walks your dad. He removes your shoe, peels back your sock, and examines the injury. You groan at the sight of the tennis ball–sized bump. Adolescent anxiety kicks in.
“Dad, I’ll never walk again!”
“Yes, you will.”
“No one can help me!”
“No one knows what to do!”
“No, you don’t!”
Your dad lifts his head and asks you a question. “Do you know what I do for a living?”
Actually you don’t. You just know he goes to the hospital every day. You know that people call him “doctor.” Your mom thinks he is smart. But you don’t really know what your father does.
“So,” he says as he places a bag of ice on your ankle, “it’s time for you to learn.”
The next day he is waiting for you after school. “Hop in. I want you to see what I do,” he says. He drives you to his hospital office and shows you the constellation of diplomas on his wall. Adjacent to them is a collection of awards. He hands you a manual of orthopedic surgery that bears his name.
“You wrote this?”
His cell phone rings. He answers the call, then announces: “We’re off to surgery.” You scrub up and follow him into the operating room on your crutches. During the next few minutes you have a ringside seat for a procedure in which he reconstructs an ankle. He is the commander of the operating room. He never hesitates or seeks advice. He just does it.
One of the nurses whispers, “Your dad is the best.”
As the two of you ride home that evening, you look at your father. You see him in a different light. If he can conduct an orthopedic surgery, he can likely treat a swollen ankle. So you ask,
“You think I’ll be okay for the dance?”
“Yes, you’ll be fine.”
This time you believe him. Your anxiety decreases as your understanding of your father increases.
Our biggest fears, Lucado says, are like sprained ankles to God—and a lot of people live with unnecessary anxiety over temporary limps.
Rather than fearing the future, rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty. His power and authority over our situation is absolute. So rejoice in what he has accomplished. Rejoice that he is able to do what you cannot.
Prayer: Lord, you know what we cannot know, and you are able to do what we cannot do. The more we understand of you, the less we are anxious about our lives—and the more joy we can enjoy!