The other night, I was making dinner, and my youngest informed me he was headed outside. I heard his little feet go through the entry, heard the screen door creak open and slam shut. I turned the bacon, checked the corn cobs, and went back to slicing tomatoes. Suddenly, I heard a screaming and yelling from outside. And, not just a "mom-please-open-the-door"yell. No. This was a "MOM-I-NEED-HELP!" scream. I ran out the door, looking for my little one. I saw him; he looked fine. Except that his feet were moving up and down, but he was not moving the rest of his body. It was like he was frozen in one spot, his head turned toward a spot in the yard. And, he was now half-screaming and half-crying. I ran up the steps to him, my heart pounding, and as I did, my eyes spotted the thing which had caused this terror. It was a snake. We always called them garter snakes. He was actually a pretty big one. Long, beady eyes, slithery, but relatively harmless.
I scooped my little guy up into my arms. He was still crying and screaming. He buried his head in my shoulder, wrapped his arms around my neck, still crying. I held him tightly, one eye trained on the snake. It just sat there. Still with those beady eyes, trying to look innocent. "I want to go inside!" my little guy wailed. I calmly took him back inside, my heart finally returned to a normal beat, knowing my child was okay, and that the snake had not harmed him. I set my little guy down in a chair, and he calmed down pretty quickly. He asked me questions about it, and of course, big brother had to chime in with "manly advice" on how everything would be okay and that "it was just a snake". Later, when we were going to head back outside, Mom was the designated one to check for the snake and to ensure the coast was clear. It was, and life returned back to normal.
As I was reflecting on this situation later, I began to think how much this situation could be an example for us. I was listening to the song, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" by Sovereign Grace. I began to reflect on how my son had panicked at his new, scary thing which had slithered out, unawares, and scared him. I reflected on how he had done the only thing he could think to do: scream for Mom. And, the only thing that calmed him down was being in Mom's arms and in her presence.
Isn't that how we should be with our Savior? So many slithery things are going on in our world today. Coronavirus: kids starting back to school, parents wondering if they are making the right decisions regarding all that, fear for their kids, themselves, fear of the unknown. Then, there's the social unrest with people rioting, looting, killing, and more- all for the sake of supposed "justice". The whole mantra of this movement leaves me feeling overwhelmed and sad.
Then, we have the whole political craziness going on these days. Mail-in ballots, political corruption and the fear of "what if" so-and-so gets elected? What will happen to our country? To us? What about our freedoms? How should we prepare? In what kind of America will my kids grow up?
Then, there's child trafficking, which has loomed largely on social media lately- the despicable acts of all perpetrators involved in these schemes only now being brought to some bit of light. And, the heinous crimes, violence, and more which permeate our news channels, news feeds, stories, and more are enough to make anyone want to scream for help!
And, then, what about your own life? You are struggling with depression and anxiety, maybe fear over any one of these above-mentioned things- or maybe it's fear in another area. Maybe you are a constant worrier- and all these things press in on you. Or maybe, you are struggling with some type of addictive behavior, which consumes your thinking and makes your relationships difficult, and you don't know where to get help. Maybe your marriage is struggling. Maybe you and your spouse haven't communicated in months about the stuff going on, and you're just "getting by" in your relationship. Maybe your kids have you worried these days- their choices, lifestyles- or you're overwhelmed with wondering ir you are parenting "right". Maybe you have physical needs and issues which cause pain and tiredness, and then, there's bills, and groceries, and constant changes to social rules, and so on. Life is hard. Situations slither out from under the porch and scare you. And, you just stand there and want to scream. You are frozen in one spot trying to figure out what to do, say, think.
Jesus says in Luke 12: "...do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more that food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then, you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest (Luke 12:22-26)?" Jesus goes on to speak about the flowers of the field and how God clothes them in great beauty- and will he not clothe you? Jesus chides the disciples for their lack of faith. And then he says, "And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom and these things will be added to you" (Luke 12:29-31).
Here's where I want to bring in the parallel to my sweet little boy. He was terrified. And, he screamed for help. And, help came. Jesus doesn't tell us we need to have everything together to come to him for help. Our Father already knows our needs and is not surprised by anything. If you find yourself scared out of your wits, worried, depressed, anxious, he already knows. And, he will (and does!) care for you! How are you handling life these days? Are you running to the Savior and finding rest and comfort in his arms?
Jesus continues this passage in verse 32 with this comfort: "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." What does this mean? This means when we are seeking our Father's wisdom and resting in his care for us, we are able to share the promise and hope of that kingdom to a world that is searching. When we are responding in fear to the slithery snakes of life, we are frozen, screaming and crying for help, but not looking to the Savior. Instead, we are keeping our eyes on the snake.
Then, Jesus sends us a reminder- maybe through his word, the counsel of a friend, and we look up and see Jesus standing there. We look into his face. His arms hold us, and while we cry and wail to him about the things of life, he holds us in his arms. Then, he takes us inside, and as we rest in his presence, we find our hearts and minds becoming calm as the presence of that "thing" fades in the security of his presence.
Are you resting in the arms of your Shepherd today? Bring to him your fears, your failures, your worry. Turn your eyes to him. Behold his goodness to you. Luke 12:34 says, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." What treasures are trying to hold onto? Are you clinging to control in your life- maybe through addiction, anger, causing strife in your family? Are you fearful? Are you constantly worried? Are you watching and listening to the news more than listening to your Savior? Your focus today will determine where your heart is.
This weekend, instead of focusing so much on the news or whatever things are troubling you, focus on your Savior. Turn your eyes to him and to his word. Turn off the TV. Set down your phone. Listen to music about Jesus. Read your Bible. Talk to him about the stuff going on in your life. Let his words speak to you. Go to church Sunday and revel in who your God is. Let your heart become calm in his presence. Then, when that snake pokes its head out, instead of screaming, you will turn away and go back into the house, knowing the presence of Jesus is much better than the presence of that snake!
And, as the presence, power, and truth of Jesus fill your heart and life, that overflow will reach a world longing for the comfort of the Savior. And, we can say, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. Jesus, to you we lift our eyes! Jesus our glory and our prize! We adore you; behold you; our Savior ever true. O, Jesus, we turn our eyes to you."
O, Father, may these dear ones rest in your presence this weekend, next week, always. May they rest in you, seeking peace in your presence and truth in your word. May the overflow of your truth in them impact this world with the hope and peace only found in you. May we all turn our eyes to you, seeking your glory and your kingdom. Amen.
Additional Song for Meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2tKVqZZiI4&list=RDF2tKVqZZiI4&start_radio=1