“When I am afraid, I will trust in You…” Like most toddlers, I was terrified of thunderstorms. Like all Southern toddlers, I encountered them at least once a week (usually more often) during the summer. The worst ones came in the middle of the night. Mom and Dad couldn’t do anything about those thunderstorms, but they did try to improve how I reacted to them. I remember them giving me a cassette tape of Steve Green songs while we were living in Orlando, FL. The tape probably had lots of nice little kid songs on it, but I remember us listening to the “When I am Afraid” song over and over again. Three-year-olds internalize music faster than almost any other input. I must have sung that song as I played around the house during the day, but I particularly remember singing it in my bedroom during those awful midnight thunderstorms.
I didn’t realize until I was older that the “When I am Afraid” song is actually just Psalm 56:3 set to music: “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” Looking back from the ripe old age of 27, I’m very thankful for those thunderstorms and that cassette tape because they ingrained this verse in my mind. It looped in my head continuously during the early days after my accident, and it still plays on repeat once I cross a certain anxiety threshold.
Many of us are facing significantly more uncertainty and loss now than we were when I posted about San Jose’s freak lightning storm last week. I’m grateful that my and Ivan’s families have been able to stay in our homes thus far, but the number of families in our Hillside and VCS communities who have evacuated or lost their homes seems to increase every day. It’s one thing to read about natural disasters happening in distant locations, but it’s entirely different to face one in real time.
These fires seem like the latest link in a chain of inexplicable crises that have impacted us in 2020. It’s easy to ask “Why, God?” or to give in to bitterness, or to crumble before the overwhelming uncertainty of it all. But these crises can also enable us to share the gospel by demonstrating there’s a different way to face difficulty – a superhuman way. And that way begins with trusting God’s goodness, even when we’re most afraid.