We’ve been gone for 4 days. It’s not even 7 yet and we’re there together waiting in the airport-me, my big girl who’s refusing to wear shoes after her new wedding sparkles wore blisters on her ankles, and my boy who’s stopping every second to watch yet another airport vehicle roll by. We’re waiting on Jason and the baby who should be here by now…they’re parking the rental van and heading this way. I see the sign, ’15 minutes wait’ at security and I keep checking my watch as the line builds. And I can’t seem to stop my heart from beating a second faster with each minute’s passing. I call Jason…he says he’s waiting too. I tell him to call me when he’s arrived. But as each minute passes I can’t seem to calm myself and all I want to do is call him again, ‘Where are you?’ ’Are you close?’ ’What’s going on?’
But he said he’d call me. And so I keep waiting and asking my heart to just calm down and not worry so much.
And then I remember that question I heard last fall. ‘Then what?’
- So what if he doesn’t make it here soon? Then what?
- Well, we might have stand in a very long line. Then what?
- We might miss our flight. Then what?
- We might be stuck at the airport for a long time. Then what?
- The kids might all fall apart and cry all day and be miserable and then we’d be miserable. Then what?
- It will probably be an awful day, or an awful several days, but we’d eventually find a way to get home.
Scripture says not to be anxious about ANYTHING. But honestly, all it takes is a tight schedule or a few moving pieces that are out of my control and I’m anxious over JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. And even when I want to calm myself and in ‘everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make my requests known to God‘-I can’t seem to stop looking at my watch and letting my anxiety build.
When Esther said, ‘If I perish, I perish,” she thought through her fears to the worst case scenario and then was able to move forward even in the midst of the dangerous conditions.
As we sat at the airport, my daughter on the floor in socks and my boy standing at the big window staring, I asked God to help me think it all through…think all this through to the worst case scenario. What if? What if the worst thing possible happened?
No matter what happened that morning, even if death or great destruction for one or some or all of us was certain, then God would still be in control and pleased-Our God is in heaven, He does whatever He pleases. And His pleasure is my good…His plans are for my good, to make me more like Christ and to secure all my happiness in Him and His eternal dwelling place. At her point in history, all Esther could say with certainty was ‘If I die, then I just die.’ But, because of the empty tomb, those who follow Christ can say, ‘If I die, then I gain eternity with Christ.’
I finally put down my phone and headed to buy some gum, an act of faith that we would in fact make it onto the plane in time and need help with popping ears. And just as I was checking out, the phone rang. Jason was in line and soon we’d be on that plane together-headed home. Even though I felt silly for being so worried about his timing, I still managed to find 5 other reasons to wring my hands again before we finally walked through our own back door.
The command in Scripture is so comprehensive…’DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING.’ And honestly it seems impossible to me. But thinking through the first hint of an anxious thought may be the way out for me. Prayerfully thinking through the thought, that is-taking the thought all the way through its worst case scenario and then finding its end at Christ’s empty tomb. When Christ spilled His blood and overcame the grave, He won the trophy over all things that increase our blood pressure.
His victory over death-the end and object of our greatest fears and anxieties-is also a victory over all the smaller everyday deaths. For death is the fearsome force we cannot control and so all these other uncontrollables of life-the disappointments and disruptions-just remind us of death’s threat.
But Easter joy undoes that fear. Seeing the empty grave clothes and the stone rolled away reminds us that there is a God who controls everything. And He is a good God who has taken control of death, and disruptions, and flight schedules and even rental vans. And even the worst case scenario can be redeemed when we stop ringing our hands and instead lift them in praise to the One who is working all these things for good. And what exactly is that good?
To conform us to the One, the ONLY ONE, who faced the worst case scenario head on—and came out alive and victorious.
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