I hang up the phone and bite my lip. Did I say too much? Push too hard? Why did she have to hang up so suddenly? I took a risk and challenged her perspective; now I fear the worst. I’m afraid she’ll stop talking to me. I feel powerless. It weighs on me while I go for a bike ride with Fred.*
Anxiety prompts me to keep returning to my inner Fortress and pray, “Help. Please.”
The phone rings when we get home. It’s the same woman calling back. She explains why she had to end the call so abruptly and says she’ll think about what I said. I breathe out a thank you as I hang up the phone.
I enjoy the relief for a while until… another fear takes its place! I picture a whole queue of fears extending around velvet ropes and stanchions. The fears fidget and sigh as each one waits for its turn to make deposits and withdrawals. Sheesh! Will this ever end?
The fear staring at me now reminds me that in a week I’m leading our monthly prayer retreat. “What’s your scripture? What’s your plan?” it demands to know. The questions send ripples of tension across my shoulders and down my arms.
Once again I return to my Fortress and pray, “Help. Please.”
I don’t like these fears; I’d like to close my wicket and be rid of the lot of them.
“O that You would vanquish my fears, Beloved,” writes Nan C. Merrill in her paraphrase of Psalm 139. But then she goes on to say, “Yet are these not the very thorns that focus my thoughts upon You?”
I may be discouraged by the long line up of fears, but Jesus isn’t. He knows they serve a purpose: they bring me back to him.
I hope one day I won’t need them… or at least need fewer of them. I suspect that when my fears have nothing useful left to offer me, Jesus will gladly close their accounts.