When My Heart is Worried and Afraid

rainbow3The sound of thunder echoed throughout the house. Though midday, the skies outside were dark as rain deluged our street. A tropical storm raged its way through our coastal town.

Thinking my youngest son would be afraid, I looked around the house for him. Finding him hidden in my bedroom closet, I asked “What are you doing in here?”

He looked up at me with a serious face and quietly said, “I don’t like the storm.”

I could understand why. We experienced just the outer bands of a storm that extended two hundred miles from its heart, over Cuba. It brought unexpected high winds, tornadoes, and flooding to our area. It was so unexpected that my son’s preschool called in the midst of a tornado warning to inform me that I had to come and pick him up. I had looked out the window at the two feet of water in the street and wondered if I would even make it there.

I had to agree with my son, I didn’t like the storm either.

He then moved from the closet to my bed and covered his head with the quilt. My other son and I joined him and there we hid under the covers, praying our fears to God. We thanked Him as Creator of the wind and rain. We thanked Him that we could come to Him in prayer. We thanked Him for His love and provision. We thanked Him for the safety of our house.  And we thanked Him that He alone calms our fears.

I am just as fearful of storms as my son is—the storms of life. When an unexpected storm of life blows in and threatens to knock me down, I too want to run and hide. I am paralyzed and feel lost in the darkness.  As the storm rages on, I am certain I will drown in its rising waters.

But the apostle Paul has taught me the way to peace in the midst of my fears and worries: prayer with a thankful heart. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) When the storms of life threaten to sweep me away, I bring my worries and fears to God. Laying them at His feet, I give thanks for all that He is and all He has done. Because He holds the world in His hands, I know my concerns are safe with Him. By wrapping my worries in gratitude, I am reminded of just how much He cares. When I remember that Jesus conquered my greatest fears at the cross, I know He can handle whatever storm looms over me today. As I reflect on His past grace, He surrounds me with a peace that surpasses human understanding, leaving me secure in His future grace.

Because prayer wrapped in thanksgiving is the cure for the worried and fearful heart.

After the boys and I prayed, my son crawled out from under the covers. We spent the afternoon playing games, no longer fearful of the sounds of the storm. By dinner, the storm had moved on. The sun returned just in time to shine its remaining rays into the kitchen window before it left for the night. The frogs in the yard sang a chorus of praise that lasted the rest of the evening. Birds feasted on the bugs that had risen to the surface of the ground. Sitting down to dinner, we joined creation in lifting praise to God as we bent our heads and returned our own thanks to Him who calms all storms.

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