One of my earliest and continuous memories is watching my parents do things. It seemed as if my mom was so busy with all she did for my brothers and me. She fixed our breakfast, washed our clothes and kept us dressed with them. She sorted out our disagreements, made our school lunches, and seemed to be able to stay on top of everything. As I recollect, my dad was gone more, but I always knew when he was away that he was working. I recall thinking that it was a shamed he could not be with us kids while we are at play. Many were the times I remember him sitting on the edge of the couch working with a shoebox in his hands. He seemed to always be looking at a checkbook. I bet your dad did some of that too! When I was a teenager, there were some things that scared me about being grown up. The idea of going through an airport on my own was scary. The idea of filling out government forms to file income tax returns was scary too. Come to think of it, filling those forms out is still a bit scary! It just seemed as a kid that my dad and mom really had it together, maybe, because it made me somewhat fearful of the day when I would be called upon to do the same.
Then, I grew up. When I got married and moved my family around the world, we had to go through those airports, fill out countless forms and pay all kinds of strange fees for things I had not even considered as a child. We had children overseas! There were lots of forms for that, too! For several years, I have had my own little “shoebox” of sorts, with more of a digital twist at least. I still have fears, but not the same as growing up. Today, my fears take more of a physical focus than a mental one. Things like, will I be healthy in my old age, or have I made enough financial preparation in lieu of it.
One constant that has always sustained me through youth and adulthood is a good and promising relationship with God. Sometimes, if I listen real closely, I can hear Jesus whisper in my ears, “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age,” Matthew 28:20. From my earliest memories I have been taught that the Lord watches over us. He is here to protect us and we have no need to fear. I remember times asking my parents how we were going to do this, or do that. Sometimes, we could not! But at all times they would say, “The Lord will provide.” And, He did!
As a kid, I remember that some of my friends did not go to church, and were not religious at all. Their families always watched, The Wonderful World Of Disney on TV on Sunday nights while we went to church. The kid in me sometimes thought they were the lucky ones. Looking back, I wonder who they turned to when they suffered. How did they survive when their home was hit with tragedy? What hope did they have beyond this life? They did not seem to take that into consideration then. Surely, they had similar fears I had, and struggles we all have had to face. Fear of the unknown escapes no one! How did they . . . how DO they survive without the Lord?
Paul said, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b ESV) Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b ESV) James said, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. . . .Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:8-10 ESV) With promises like these, growing up, shall we say, is a piece of cake! For, with God what do we have to fear?