Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ~John 14:27
This verse has come up so many times over the past month that I really should have it memorized by now. I'm fairly certain that's a teeny little hint from God.... Oddly enough, it was one I hung on to while Joe was in basic training. Before the military, we'd barely been separated. 2 months' worth of training with very little contact was slightly terrifying for me...as was the potential for him to come back a completely different person.
Anyway, there's that word "peace" again. But this time it comes with an even better command - don't be afraid. Yikes. I'm not sure any one of us could name someone who wasn't afraid before a deployment. Even if they were only a tiny bit afraid. Let's face it, we're sending loved ones off to war - to a place where men wreak havoc daily, not caring for anyone in their paths. Even Joe, who has a "safe" job, was awarded a CAB (Combat Action Badge) at the end of his last deployment. Translation? He and his unit were under fire, and heavy fire at that. So, "don't be afraid" is a very hard one for me.
Hard as it may be to find peace or to not be afraid, the fact of the matter is this:
The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. ~John 10:10
I may know it, but it really is hard to grasp sometimes... My future is in God's hands. It's not in mine. Whether I worry or not, I can't change what will happen. And worry? It's a tool of the enemy, and boy is it effective! The worry I let creep into my mind absolutely kills my joy for the here-and-now. The time I spend worrying keeps me from spending time on something else, even if it's just something like starting a load of laundry.
I love this quote from the devotion book Jesus Calling. I read it just the other day, and it spoke volumes to me.
"Your future is in My hands; I release it to you day by day, moment by moment. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow. I want you to live this day abundantly, seeing all there is to see, doing all there is to do. Don't be distracted by future concerns. Leave them to Me!"
I am 1000% guilty of worrying about the future, even the trivial stuff. It's hard not to be afraid of sending Joe off on deployment again. God doesn't want me to worry.... Why?
He wants me to have a rich and satisfying life. What part of worrying is satisfying? Except for the feeling of control it gives us, nothing about worrying is satisfying. If anything, it's stressful. It doesn't solve anything. Worrying can often make a problem worse, because of all the "what ifs" we put together in our minds. (Don't act like you don't do it, too!)
There's nothing rich, fun, satisfying, or life-giving about worrying or being afraid of the future. So why do we do it? Human (sin) nature. Lies of the enemy we've allowed to creep in. Habit. The only way we can combat this is to keep praying and focusing on Him. I say this as much to myself as to anyone else. Because, really? Worry and fear can be crippling if we let them. And God wants so much more for us than that! So, so much more.