Don’t Panic – He’s Got You
by Elizabeth Turnage, Guest Writer
Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady; keep a firm grip on you.
Isaiah 41:10, MSG
On an ordinary day in August, our son went for a routine sinus Cat-scan; that same day we learned that my father-in-law would need open heart surgery. My husband flew off to be with his parents. Shortly after 2 p.m., my mother-in-law texted to say my father-in-law’s surgery had gone well.
A few minutes later, I was in my car when my husband called. I assumed he was just checking in, but his voice quaked as he asked me, “Are you at home?” When I told him I was almost home, his voice broke as he instructed, “Call me when you get there.”
Immediately, panic rose, and I cried out in an unfamiliar, squeaky voice, “What’s wrong? Your Dad?!– but – your mom just texted me that he’s okay.” My husband, a generally imperturbable man, was clearly crying as he repeated his request, “Just call me when you get home.” Now I wailed. “Noooooo…What’s WRONG??? IS IT ONE OF THE KIDS? I’ve pulled over. You can’t do this to me. You have to tell me NOW!!!” Our son’s Cat-scan didn’t even enter my mind.
His voice broke, sobs escaping, as he told me. “The ENT called. They found something on [our son]’s CT. He has a – mass.” That heavy blob of a word that just sits on your chest with the weight of all its awful possibility.
Panic assaulted me. I felt my face go numb, while my body zinged with adrenaline. My heart felt like it was sizzling on a hot griddle; my stomach wound itself into a tangle of knots.
Denial quickly tried to push panic aside: That can’t be. I just saw him, and he’s fine.
My husband gently instructed me to go home and take our son to the hospital for an MRI.
And that’s when it arrived. A quiet, almost eerie peace.
During a health crisis, it’s normal to experience panic. The good news of the Bible is that God is neither shocked nor surprised by our wild-eyed fear. One of the most oft-written commands from the Lord to His people is, “Do not be afraid.” These words acknowledge that we will feel fear—terror, panic, horror, dread—in this fallen world.
As we wait, what we desperately need is to be held. The Bible insists almost to the point of redundancy that our God is a stable God: he does not quake, shake, or tremble. Our firmly-fixed Lord, the very One who created the cosmos, has an unflinching grip on us.
Strong-gripped Father, we thank you that when we tremble in fear of earthly terrors, You hold us tight. Please, we pray, replace panic with peace in our quivering hearts. We worship You as our unshakeable King. So very Amen we pray—may we be rooted in this truth in our hearts.
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©2019 Elizabeth Reynolds Turnage. Please do not reprint without permission from the author.
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Elizabeth Turnage, writer, story coach, teacher, and the founder of Living Story ministries (www.elizabethturnage.com). She is passionate about helping people learn, live, and love in God’s story of grace. A blogger and the author of three Bible studies published by P&R Publishing, she is a popular conference and retreat speaker. Elizabeth is married to an orthopedic surgeon, Kip Turnage, and they have four adult children, plus three added by marriage. They are also the devoted “parents” of their personal therapy dog, Rosie.
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