When my son, Alex, and I first visited his college campus, we arrived in the early evening and it was cold, dark, and dreary in the town. Very dark. There were hardly any street lights illuminating our way as walked from the bed and breakfast we were staying at to the college campus down the street. I thought to myself, I don't like this and its cold and dark, and I turned to my son and said, "We're only here a couple days and then we are going home." I felt relieved at that thought, that he and I would leave the place that made us feel uncomfortable and cold and go to the place where we felt "safe and secure from all alarm".
But when we walked into the campus building, up the stairs into the student lounge area, we walked into warmth and light and friendship and new beginnings. Within hours I knew that this is where my son was going to be going to college. I knew it and I felt sure that it would be good. And it is good. But now it's hard.
My son is sick with a cold. That's nothing, as far as news, for most people. But to the mother of a preemie, the mother of a son who spent nights in emergency rooms struggling to breathe, the mother of a son who gets quiet and pale when a simple cold takes him down with asthma or pneumonia, this is knee-shaking news. This is going where I do not want to go: I am at a loss to help him the way I have always intervened when he was sick. I cannot assess how bad it is, from where I am. I can only hear his voice, by phone, and feel the fear inside me; the kind of fear that makes me nauseous with worry so that I only half hear what my daughter is saying to me when she asks me a question about her history lesson.
I feel cornered by God- because this is what I had dreaded and what I had known I would go through. I knew my son would be far away at a college campus and I would be reduced to a distant doctor's assessment of his health, with me assessing his health by phone call. That I would be trying to gauge, from a distance, where my son was at as far as the critical nature of breathing, just breathing.
I believe God does not want me to fear. In my head I know this. I believe God loves and cares for my son. But HOW do I get through this? I don't want to go through this. I don't like this kind of trial, this challenge He presents to me so that I can learn to not only trust Him, but trust Him as I am learning to trust Him.
"'A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master'(Matthew 10:24). In other words, the same things that happened to our Lord will happen to us on our way to to our 'Jerusalem' "(My Utmost for His Highest). I imagine that Christ knew where He was called to go, knew what lay ahead for Him, yet that doesn't mean He enjoyed the route, that He grinned and laughed on His way. No one smiles at a trial ahead of them, however big or small it may seem to others. Sometimes people, loved ones even, cannot understand what makes you quake in your boots. What we go through, we go through with shaking, cold hands that others may not see, but God feels them, He holds them, "for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Ps 103:14).
And as long as He intimately knows what its like to battle fear, to have to go where we do not want to go, then I can be comforted by Him. I can let Him lead me through a trial, across a mountain and up the difficult side, so that I can know the heights of His love, the depth of His comforting peace. I know in the end I will not have to say that I enjoyed the journey, but that the outcome of the journey was worth it all.