Darkness pulled down her shade quickly in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Our family sat around the campfire, watching the sparks from the fire brighten as the dark shuttered the forest.
A screech cut the blackness, sending my six-year-old skittering into my arms. “Hush … it’s only a barn owl, you know,” I comforted him. Suddenly, a chorus of owl hoots and cries surrounded us as news of the nightly hunt spread through the trees.
My son continued to shake and cry with each owl call. I pulled him onto my lap.
“There’s nothing to fear,” I said. “Tell me, what do we know about owls?”
And there by the fireside, I calmly walked him through his knowledge bank on owl lore. We talked about the owl pellet we’d dissected last year for school. What they ate, what they hunted, why they called out to each other with such raucous voices. They weren’t hunting for little boys, what a relief!
I reminded him that owls see best in the dark, so they didn’t want to come near our bright fire.
“So we’ll be okay in the morning then, when it’s light out?” he asked. He was hoping for the light of day, when he had light right in front of him.
“Oh honey, you’re okay right now. You don’t need to be afraid of the owls. I’m here with you. And you know all about owls.” As we talked, he quieted.
My husband asked me later, “How did you calm him down?” At first I wasn’t sure. Then I realized, I’d helped him remember what he knew about owls. Armed with his knowledge and prior experiences, he was released from his fears.
Knowing hope, and the One we hope in frees us from fear.
Later in our tent, I lay on my cot, one arm extended out of my sleeping bag, holding my son’s hand. He slept fitfully, constantly grabbing for my hand in his sleep whenever he tossed himself loose from me.
Despite the hope of his knowledge of owls, despite the nearness of my protection, his fears returned.
As a mother, my heart ached for him to hold onto the hope my words: There’s nothing to fear. I’m here with you.
I realized this how we are with God. God as our parent is always reaching out to us, offering us His arm of protection:“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you …” (Isaiah 66:13).
“I will never leave thee …” He whispers to our hearts while we wrestle in the darkness.
When we return to our fears, we need to rely on the knowledge of our hope in God.
What we know about hope is so simple, we may need reminding:
We have hope because God is present in our troubles. (Psalm 46:1)
Just like I was already holding my son’s hand through his fears, God is already there, holding onto us!
We have hope because hope is enduring. Of the three things that “abide” in I Corinthians 13, one is hope. Hope doesn’t just go away—we may lose sight of the truth but the Truth never changes.
When all feels lost, we have hope because Hope is already holding us securely, as an “anchor of the soul,” (Hebrews 6:19).
When we’re losing hold of hope, remember Hope is holding onto us.
Those are just a few things we know about hope from Scripture.
Mothers, when fear hits your family, remember that what we know about hope will light the darkness.
The Case for Hope by Lee Strobel
Holding On to Hope: A Pathway through Suffering to the Heart of God by Nancy Guthrie