Go Through to Break Through
A few weeks ago both our boys came down with strep throat. Since getting slammed with a digestive disorder seven years ago most antibiotics have not been my friend; therefore, strep has been at the top of my heebie-jeebies list. I have done all I can (within reason) to avoid antibiotics as well as sickness. Should I get sick, it could take weeks for me to bounce back, and many medications (from cold medicines to antibiotics) negatively affect my system–so much so that I would rather suffer through illness without taking anything for relief than deal with the side effects. While I have not become a full-fledged germaphobe, I readily admit I have used more than my fair share of hand sanitizer.
So how did I handle this plague that struck our home? I couldn’t run, couldn’t hide, couldn’t avoid it. My love for my boys overtook my fear so I held them, stroked their heads, kissed their faces, and prayed. And cleaned. And obsessed a bit. Then, after about a week, my husband and I reluctantly went to the doctor to get checked ourselves because we finally had to concede to the fact that we, too, had sore throats. We were given antibiotics to take–just in case. Our test results had come back negative, but seeing as we had two confirmed cases of strep in the house, we were prescribed the dreaded antibiotics prophylactically. At first we held off, thinking (hoping!) perhaps it wasn’t strep, but then Dad got worse so we each took our first pill. Turns out he did not have strep, but the flu, and I had a mild something that quickly and quietly passed, but since we’d already begun the treatment, on we marched.
Know what happened?
Nothing. I suffered no side effects. I was surrounded by strep and the flu and I barely had a sniffle. I faced and fought panic and Love won. Where I broke down, God broke through.
Now fear has no hold on me.
We are all given the gift of choice. We can allow fear to hold us captive–to dictate our decisions, feelings and reactions. We can ruminate on what-ifs and worst case scenarios (poor uses of imagination) until we are bound and gagged, incapable of moving, living or breathing. We can turn tail and cower in defeat, curl up in a ball, and pull the covers up over our heads while settling into a stagnant slumber. Or we can wake up and live–alive. We can follow, believe, trust, rely and depend on the One who with loving strength and supreme authority earnestly entreats us to, “Fear not.” The power of fear is in the fear, not in the projected outcome we, while dripping sweat, strive to avoid. As it turns out, I did not get the sickness I feared, or suffer the consequences I anticipated by taking the medication I was prescribed. However, even if I had, I would have been given the grace not only to endure the circumstance, but also to be strengthened and empowered by it. There is a tragedy greater than the outcomes projected in fear that most often never come to pass, and that is the time, peace, love, and life sacrificed on the illusory altar of self-preservation, safety and security.
How do we break out of fear’s death grip? We must go through to break through. There is no other way. Turning our backs on fear leaves us vulnerable to being shot between the shoulder blades. We face our fears with faith and triumph, knowing life was never meant to be safe; it was meant to be lived. Knowing we are not victims; we are victors. Knowing we cannot win this battle on our own. Perfect Love drives out all fear. It is in this Love we stand as overcomers, warriors, winners, as more than conquerors.
We belong to our Father. The battle is His and He’s already won. Outcomes are irrelevant in His arms–where our coming apart comes together and our falling pieces fall into place. Where we are held, healed and made whole. Where our breakdowns become our breakthroughs, where all things work together for good, where Love never fails and we are always safe.
The only place we are safe.
The only place we are free.