What Are You Afraid Of?

Volcanoes. That’s what I was afraid of. We were going around the room in children’s church naming our fears, and I said, “Volcanoes.” I remember the teacher stifling a grin and telling me I probably didn’t need to worry too much since we lived in Florida.


A few years later, I found myself on an airplane moving to my new home – a volcanic island.


Thankfully, I had overcome my fear of volcanoes by the time we moved, but I didn’t miss the irony in God’s plan. Especially when I sat on a cliff early one morning oohing and aahing at ribbons of lava shooting into the sky against a backdrop of ocean and sunrise.


It turns out I was afraid of something beautiful.


Too often, we refuse to trust God’s plans. As women, we shake our heads and laugh about how men always hog the remote control to the T.V., and then we tighten our own death grip on the remote control to life.


And when something happens to remind us there is no remote control to life? We turn over all the couch cushions and yell at the kids in a crazed frenzy to regain some sort of control.


I’m going to say it like it is, but let me soften it by noting I’m just as guilty as the next girl: we want to be in control because of our pride.


We think we know what’s best. We think we should be in charge. We think we know the difference between scary and beautiful.


But we don’t.


“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, ESV)


See, God does know what’s best. He is in charge. And He knows that sometimes the scary things and the beautiful things are the same things.


Casting our anxieties on God is a form of humbling ourselves. It’s a recognition that God’s plans are not only good but better than ours. It’s an awareness that He loves us even more than we love ourselves (and that’s a lot, given our tendency to try to control all of life for the benefit of ourselves and those closest to us).

Casting our anxieties on God sounds like this: “I’m not You, God. I’m not in control. I don’t know what’s best. I don’t even know what’s really scary and what’s really beautiful. But You do. And I trust You, because You love me. Help my lack of trust.”


And at the proper time, He will pull us out of this scary place and exalt us beautifully as His children.



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