Before we could even taxi for take off, the occupant of 10B was gasping for hope. Unhindered by age or expectations, the seven year old warbled out worries about the impending flight and the monstrous airplane swallowing us all whole. “Will it go really fast, Daddy?” she asked. “I heard it will go really fast, faster than a race car,” she admitted. “I don’t know what it will be like, but I think it’s going to be really scary,” she told her patient father who tried to calm her with conversation. “I’m too scared to even talk, Daddy. I’m so afraid and I can’t help it.”
Her confessions spilled out in a weeping song, admitting her fears in the face of the unknown. The little she had heard had her worried. She wondered who was flying the plane and if he could handle the journey. She wondered if he knew how afraid she was and if he cared. Who’s in control here!?!
I recognized the sound of her fears, a sound I’ve heard from deep within myself. Sometimes my groanings join a chorus of fear-formed worries on Facebook or in conversations of small groups and girlfriends who wonder how fast the evil of the world is going to go and if we’ll be swallowed whole. What we hear can wreak havoc on our hopefulness. We don’t know what tomorrow will be like, but we think it’s really scary, and our song becomes hollow of hope.
There’s a lot to scare a mom today. Media makes it possible to know about enemies and evil faster than ever. We see detailed images of violence and hear the sounds. We see faces of victims on our news feeds and media outlets, and we feel like we know them. Families, mothers, sons, and friends like us. People in our own country and in other countries. Victims. Before we know it, we’re breathing in anxiety over what we’ve heard and what we don’t know, exhaling pessimism and gasping for remnants of stolen joy.
We want to pray, but sometimes all we can say is, “I’m too scared to even talk, Daddy. I’m so afraid and I can’t help it.” How do we find hope when reality is so horrible?
Fear has a way of squeezing the last breath out of hope. 10B was at her breaking point. I recognized the sound, the sound we make at the end of ourselves and the start of seeing how helpless we are. I wanted to reach through the seats to hold her hand. Before I could, a flight attendant stopped by. “I wonder if you might like to meet the Captain,” she offered. “I find that when someone meets the Captain, they aren’t afraid anymore.” 10B took her hand, and we all watched as the small girl walked past, buoyed on by the gentle wind of hope rising at the thought of meeting the Captain.
The cabin door opened and a shadow filled the doorway, bending to meet 10B. As he took her hand, he took her fear. He would fly the plane with her in mind, delivering her to the destination safely. Now, He knew her and she him. As she turned, hope lit her changed face.
She walked back to her seat, leaving footprints of smiles behind her. The voice from 10B sounded strangely different. Still not certain, still not in control, but no longer fearing. By the time we touched down, she declared, “That was great! I can’t wait for my next flight! I think this captain must be the best of all the captains!”
Moms today have questions about the future we will give our children. There are questions to answer, decisions to make, and reasons for concern. But we do not need to be anxious or pass on anxiety. Fear has a way of squeezing the last breath out of hope.
Are you worried about raising your family in today’s world? If you’re looking around and fighting your fears, hold on to hope, dear mama. Your life is in good hands, the Captain’s hands, and He is the best Captain of all. He knows you and will carry you and your family safely to your destination.
No matter what we hear, the One who holds us in His heart and hands gives us reason to hope.
What truth from God’s word gives you courage and peace when you hear about violence and conflict?
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills. For where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber … The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.” (Psalm 121: 1-3, 7)