Monday, 3 January 2011

Flapping arms can't grab a lifebelt

Riley woke up a few moments ago screaming. I went upstairs and picked him up. I kissed him and whispered "it's ok, it's ok, daddy's here, it's ok." How did he respond? He went on screaming, louder and louder. Ear-piercing and then some.

Amy came up and together we reassured him kissing him, loving him. No change. He just carried on screaming. It reminded me of something. Sometimes when we're scared or confused we can't hear the reassuring voices around us through the sound of our proverbial screaming. We feel like people aren't listening and we don't think there's any comfort or hand of reassurance around us.

When C.S. Lewis's wife died he found himself in a deep state of despair, his faith seemed to desert him. A Christian author, speaker and guide to thousands he found himself alone and unsure of the faith he preached to others. 'Where was God' he asked? Where was the comfort he had hoped his faith would bring him? Was God tormenting him? He felt abandoned by the God who'd said he would never leave him nor reject him.

Fear, grief and unexpected turns in life among other things can do this to us. Challenges we've never faced before seem insurmountable and we can be tempted to give in. We lie awake and allow the cold sweat of fear to take control. The Bible's book of Mark records an occasion when Jesus' followers were out at sea and were caught in the midst of a great storm. Jesus was asleep in the hull of the ship but was awoken by a desperate fishermen yelling at him "Jesus! Don't you care that we're going to drown?!" It's a natural response. The trouble was however that they'd forgotten who Jesus was, what he was capable of. They abandoned their trust in him for panic in the moment.

Looking back on his grief after months of questioning and wrestling C.S. Lewis remarked that he was like a drowning man too busy flapping his arms about him that he didn't notice the lifebelt he'd been thrown.

If only Riley stopped his screaming and opened his eyes he'd have seen two doting parents committed to doing whatever they could to relieve his discomfort and if only the disciples had stopped responding to the storm and responded instead to the man inside the boat.

When fear grips us by the throat and threatens to suffocate us and when a challenge saps us of all our strength and we're anxious about the outcome of events, we need to take some time out and remind ourselves of who loves us and who's in the boat with us. The Bible says 'cast all of your worries onto God for he cares for you.'

Worry doesn't disappear unless we off load it onto someone else and who better to dump it on than the one who cares for us more than we could know? Back-up the dumper truck full of your concerns and empty it over and over and over again. Stop flapping around, stop screaming, stop panicking and remind yourself "he loves me, he cares for, he knows what he's doing."

No comments: