The Interplay of Fear and Hope

“I was afraid of you, today, Mom,” Micah informed me.

“Me?” I enquired.

“You were so short with your words. You’re never short,” Micah explained.

It was true. I was short. I hadn’t wanted to respond or even talk that much because I was thinking so hard. I was concerned. Super concerned.

Yesterday, we had a problem with the computer we use for Jake’s and Caleb’s science work. We use a science curriculum in which all of the boys’ work is completed on this computer. Something crazy happened with this machine yesterday and all of the boys work for the entire year appeared lost.

Gone.

No trace.

My role in this fiasco is that I hadn’t back this work up at all. My bad. My. Really.Really.Really.Bad.

So, my mind was filled with what I needed to do to re-install the work and how to make up all of the work that had been lost. The science curriculum is set up so that one task is completed at a time. The boys cannot just jump ahead – they have to finish one assignment, then the next, then the next, and so on. With nearly two units completed (thank goodness we are still in the first quarter of our school year), I was mapping out a plan to make up this work.

Needless to say, I was stressed.

So much so, that I scared my oldest kid by how different I was acting. He wasn’t used to my unavailability. I was present, but I wasn’t responding to him like I normally do. I was thinking so hard that I had literally checked out – needing time and space alone to determine a plan.

After plotting a course of action, John and I reinstalled the program and hoped that the boys’ work would still be there – somehow.

Gratefully, when we rebooted the computer, Caleb’s and Jake’s work resurfaced once again. I cannot tell you how relieved our family was last night. This had been a day long struggle.

I cannot say I was proud of the way I acted through all of this situation. I did not want my sons to have to repeat all of their hard-fought work. Their science work is difficult and very abstract. For my two concrete-thinking boys, they’ve done exceptionally well to make sense of it all. Yet, as I shared, Caleb and Jake have put significant time in to reach this level of understanding and mastery. My heart hurt as I contemplated what they might have to do – all over again.

Yet, there was one particular victory that took place yesterday in the midst of it all.

I hadn’t thought about it until the whole drama was put to rest.

My triumph for the day was that I hadn’t succumbed to eating some kind of sugary treat for comfort or stress relief.

It’s not that sugar is not in our house.

It is.

Yesterday, I  baked a family favorite that we call ‘crumbly cake’ for breakfast. It’s Micah’s favorite coffee cake.

Later in the afternoon, I made a new batch of yummy granola for John. The cinnamon scent that wafted through the house was divine.

And of course, there was our stash of chocolate chips in the freezer. We bring chocolate chips back with us from the States as it’s next to impossible to purchasing American-made chocolate chips here. A handful of chocolate chips has often been my go-to comfort in times like yesterday.

But I didn’t do it. Not once.

That’s victory!

In the midst of a very unpleasant and mentally-taxing situation, my God sustained me. I remained sugar-free throughout the day’s mental strain and heart-taxing toll.

Another gift from yesterday is that my hope study led me to read these words:

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.

New International Version, Psalm 147:10-11

Despite what happened yesterday with a crazy computer, my God was not interested in my physical strength, my mental capabilities, my self-reliance, my outward appearance, or my service capacity to please Him. His interest, delight and attention plumbs deeper. My God values most what is happening in the depths of my heart and spirit. And though I was stressed, He was working. He sustained me with His strength to persevere. I did not choose a sugary-something like a chocolate chip to make it all temporarily better.

The other important factor that is at play here is that I made a promise to my God to go 365 days without sugar. I have a conscious fear of breaking that commitment. My fear is found in my God and in my reverence of Him.

It’s interesting to note that this psalm couples fear with hope. Did you notice that?

the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Fear is based upon the transliterated Hebrew word, yare. (We’ve seen that word before….) Yare means to fear, to revere, to show awe, to invoke honor, to inspire reverence, and to be terrible. You see, in my studies, I am discovering that the fear of God is a terrible fear. It is a fear that cause us to curb our behavior. It is a fear that protects and shields. It is a holy fear that puts a check on our hopes – causing us to remain true in our hope and trust of God and not of something else.

fear-hope-ft103-1

Charles Spurgeon describes this relationship as “…a blended character of fear and hope.” We fear God with awe and reverence and in so doing we are blessed with the hope of His mercy, His grace, His forgiveness, and His unfailing love. Fear is our hedge and hope is our inspiration and encouragement. It is in these spiritual qualities that our God takes His delight.

This truth emboldens my conviction to stay true to my promise this year with God. I have entrusted Him with my heart – seeking Him for my needs and not some sugary sweet. My fear of God and my hope in Him regarding this sugar-free pledge are working together to see me through today and the next.

Yesterday’s computer challenges provided me with one huge life lesson of how fear and hope interplay in my life.

And my God, amazingly, delights in those deep reaches of my heart!

In addition, my kid isn’t so afraid of me today! I’m back to normal. The computer is working. And I’m still sugar-free – 60 days free – in 2017!

2 Comments

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  1. Heather, you are free indeed! God is truly working through you and helping you stay sugar free. So glad the computer issue was fixed easily. That is one of my biggest fears – that I lose everything on my computer. I need to learn to trust and not panic. Thank you again for the reminder.

    • Thank you, Shara! I appreciate your encouragement! Yes, computer problems are so challenging – since we depend so much on them today. I’m relieved that we were able to retrieve everything and none of the boys’ school work was lost. We’re back on track now. Yeah! I hope you have a great day and thanks again for your care of me! Love, heather

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