What Do You Do with Panic?
I recently returned from visiting my granddaughter, Kaili Ann, where we were celebrating her one-year birthday. While enduring the flight to her home, I thought about all the goodies packed in my bag for her. But unbeknownst to me, I was bringing along something else as well: a contagious bad cold.
Yes, in no time at all a first happened in the life of Kaili Ann. She became intimately acquainted with a runny nose and saline drops. One night while playing with her on Grammy Pammy’s homemade pallet, I noticed she spit up what looked like blood. Then I observed more red marks on the carpet a few feet away. My nose rushed to the spot only to discover it wasn’t blood on the floor but the pungent odor of mentholyptus from my cherry cough drops. How in the world did she get her hands on my hard-coated medicine?
Then the household panic began. What if she chokes? Should we take her to the emergency clinic immediately? Meanwhile, Kaili Ann gaily twirled in circles practicing her newfound skill of walking on two feet.
We couldn’t find the cough drop, and I was worried sick she’d find it again. It must have been 3:00 in the morning when my stewing reached a monsoon mental breakdown: “Where is that silly cough drop? It’s entirely my fault. My carelessness could have killed my grandbaby!”
In terrorizing moments like these, there’s only one thing to do: call God’s 9-1-1 Baby Hotline. “Lord,” I pleaded, “Help me!” I remembered God’s offer in Jeremiah 33:3: “Pam, call on Me and I will tell you great and mighty things you do not know.” So I immediately dialed the number, inquiring about the whereabouts of the elusive cough drop. Its mysterious hiding place raged as my “great and mighty” thing.
Then I remembered. In the wee hours of the morning the night before, I had wobbled in the dark to my suitcase for a cough drop and returned to bed. Apparently it had fallen out of my mouth. So I flipped on the light switch, searched the covers and sure enough, there lay the sticky culprit! But how did Kaili Ann discover it and slip it into her mouth for just enough time to suck out some juice? I suppose that little wiggle worm grabbed it while I changed her diaper on my bed earlier that night.
This I know. Fear has a unique ability of pushing us over the edge into a ridiculous tizzy. What starts as an innocent concern (Where’s that cough drop?) can instantly be transformed into a wordless darkness of worst-case scenarios playing over and over in our mind. What we need in moments like those is the wherewithal to trust God above the havoc. It was Jesus who spoke to the violent waters on the Sea of Galilee and commanded them to be still. And it’s the same Jesus in our daily circumstances who waits to calm the waves of our greatest fears. All we have to do is bring HIM into the drama.
So next time you’re faced with your own cough drop episode, rush your nose to the spot, examine the evidence, and follow through with God’s solution: When I am afraid, I will trust in Thee (Psalm 56:3).