I was convinced I was going blind and would face my future confined to a lonely world of darkness, no longer able see the beautiful faces of those I loved.
Would I forget what they looked like? Would I have to assume that my daughter looks lovely, or my sons handsome, on their wedding days? Would I have to tenaciously hang onto fading memories of the glories I had seen in watching the sun rise and descend in its daily march?
There is a brutal torture in having seen and loved what will never be seen again. I would now have to adapt to life in the shadows with large, looming realities and dangers that exist to be painfully reckoned with, but without the sight to avoid. What would I become? Why would God let this happen to me?
To make a torturously long story short, I was convinced for credible reasons that I would be diagnosed Monday morning with glaucoma. Glaucoma is a serious, incurable eye condition that eventuates in blindness as a cruel blackness creeps from the fray of peripheral vision to the center until the blackness closes in completely. I had the symptoms, according to that devious and debilitating online tool of the devil, WebMD. For those who already struggle with worry and see in their mind’s eye vividly clear visions of the worst case scenario, WebMD is faithful to fill in the gloomy details of your “sure” future life of suffering.
Fifteen hours would pass from the point that I went offline with WebMD and my dreaded ophthalmology appointment on Monday morning. I was convinced that I was going blind. I may as well have been blind in those fifteen hours.
The Epicenter of Worry
Worry is torment. I do not consider myself a worrier by nature. It doesn’t make the cut of my top 5 list of besetting sins. Yet, I believe that everyone falls on the spectrum of worry somewhere.
We all, under the right circumstances, will worry about something because there is so much to worry about in this fragile and fallen world. Will my kids make it? What kind of world will they face? Will we have enough money to retire? Will I ever feel better? Will the chemo work? Will this conflict ever end in reconciliation? Will my spouse change? Will I change? Will God be faithful? I could go on.
To live in the epicenter of worry is to feel like you have fallen into a trap that has both enclosed you and is continuing to close in on you, with no exit signs posted. It feels inescapable whether we try to claw our way out, or simply sink down in defeat.
The things that we obsess, lose sleep, and wring our hands over always seem so plausible and certain to us. We attempt to alleviate our worst fears by reminding ourselves that it is only possible that they be realized; but then again, they may not come to pass. This kind of rationalizing rarely works because the nature of worry hedges it bets on the worst case scenario!
Our emotions may spin out of control as our minds race to formulate plans to counter this dreaded future we are certain we face. We have fallen into the trap of worry, and the details of our future are closing in on us. Hope is as thin as the air in this claustrophobic trap. How do we fight our way out?
The Missing Person
The problem with this tragic tale of woe that we are embracing is the missing person in our fateful futures. God is never there with us! It is only me/us inescapably contending with the brutal realities of our impossible circumstances, without support, without resources and without hope. Yet, can this reality ever be true for the believer? When God said, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” did He really mean what He said?
Some of the most comforting, perspective-gaining, endurance-producing words in Scripture are the words, “I will be with you.” God, the all-powerful, sovereign, Lord of all, who unquestionably maintains, sustains and controls every last thing in this entire universe is speaking. And what does He say? He says, as a promise, from a God who cannot lie or change His mind, that He will be (not might be, not conditioned upon our meeting certain criterion) with us. He covenants to be with us, His very own, dearly loved children whom He loves with an everlasting love.
How can we be sure of His love and watchful care over us in the futures we face? We can look to the cross for assurance. Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” If He gave His very own Son, will He not continue to be faithful in whatever future He has prepared for us? He will be with us in that future, giving all that is necessary for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). This is bedrock, unchanging, hope-filled truth to cling to as you fight your way out of the trap of worry.
“I will be with you.” As I faced my ophthalmology appointment on Monday morning, those were my “fighting words” in my battle with worry. Faith is never an easy fight. As it turns out, I am not going blind. I have chronic dry eye disease from making too few of my apparently handicapped tears. I left with a small bottle of artificial tears and a large gift of faith from my larger-than-life God who will always be with me.
“I will be with you.” He meant what He said.
Join the Conversation
“I will be with you.” What do those words do to your worry? How do they change your outlook on the future?