by Jim Killam | 3-minute read
Lauren and I had a fight Sunday afternoon. I’m not sure either of us could tell you what it was about. We retreated to separate ends of the house for a while to decompress. By Monday, things were fine again.
“Fight” is a relative term for us. We almost never do. In a great marriage, a few words of exasperation can feel bigger than they really are. And that’s what Sunday was: frustration and helplessness in not being able to help our kids with childcare. In having to treat our parents like we are radioactive. In the two of us seeing and feeling needs, with the biggest of those needs being to stay home.
And we’re not even to the bad part of this thing yet.
Here’s the part where I’m supposed to write something spiritual about how God is in control and how we can fully trust him. I believe that. I really do. But I’m also not feeling it right now. Yes, we’re doing OK. That’s my standard answer lately. But no, we’re also not doing OK. I’m scared about loved ones getting sick. I’m scared about me getting sick. I’m scared about what is happening to our society.
We have been conditioned by our Christian subculture to think fear is bad. I can quote umpteen Bible verses telling me not to be afraid. But I think there’s a difference between being scared (OK) and being ruled by fear (not OK).
Scared keeps me from putting on false bravado. Scared is — to use a trendy word — vulnerable. I’m not terrified. I’m not paralyzed. I’m certainly not hopeless. But scared feels OK. Scared is normal in a time where nothing feels normal. Scared heightens my senses and (I hope) my thinking. Scared drives me to God. I’ve already written a list, much longer and scarier than what I’ve revealed here, and I’ve told him about each item. Like he didn’t already know.
A year ago, when Lauren and I were working on funding for our Wycliffe work, we acknowledged something to each other: This would be hard. We each were entitled to a freak-out day once in a while. They probably wouldn’t come at the same time or for the same reasons. But our rule was, we couldn’t try to hide it from each other. We would take stuff to God, together.
I think owning up to our fears took away their power. In a time of uncertainty, it helped us sort truth from lies. It drove us to God. Urgently.
We’ve now had our first freak-out day over coronavirus. There will be more. We might feel like frightened kids, running into Dad’s arms.
I think I’m OK with that.
• • •
Shaking like a leaf
As with so many other things in life, songwriter Rich Mullins got right to the point about fear.