God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
– 2 Timothy 1:7
It has been a long day. It is wrapping up, the kids are tired, you’ve said your good nights, prayed, hugged, kissed, and tucked their sweet little souls in bed. You then fix yourself a cup of coffee, or perhaps some tea, sit down with a book or some other project you have anticipated making progress on.
Moments later you hear sniffles and a muffled voice talking through a blanket covered mouth, “I cannot go to sleep… I’m scared…”
This has been a frequent event in my wife and I’s life lately. In all honesty, it is a difficult place for me. A place usually filled with sighs, exasperation, and overzealous expectations for my kids. Everything selfish in me doesn’t want to be inconvenienced… again. This is my time. This is when I get to do something for myself. All that stirs up in me, while I also am reminded of my childhood and the fears I had at night. It becomes a battle within me that I must fight so that I can help them with their fight against their fears.
I long for my kids to be fighter’s of their fears and I try to give them tools to fight with. Recently, on one of these nights, I tried to encourage my son to fight his fears with prayer and truth. To pray and ask God to help him think on good things, then to keep reminding himself of what is true. He left for a moment to return to his room and was back before I could get another sip of coffee. “It didn’t work,” he said. “I keep thinking about it.” It, of course, was whatever fear was lodged in his imitation for that particular night.
I tried to explain to him that the fight has to keep going. I had him put his arms out and we locked our hands together. I started pushing on him and asked him to push back. We remained at a standstill. I told him to stop pushing back, and I quickly overtook him, forcing him off his balance.
I told him his thoughts will not stop trying to overtake him. As soon as you stop fighting, they will return. Keep fighting, keep praying, keep trusting, keep remembering what is true.
He went to bed. Then returned within minutes. So there I was, wondering why my logical and perfect advice, coupled with a tangible illustration, was not sending him into courageous war and victory against his fear while sending me into a peaceful night of relaxing.
The truth is, he didn’t need my advice and my war tactics to then be sent back to the front lines alone. He needed someone to get into the trenches with him. He needed someone to serve him like Christ. Someone to teach him the truth but also walk with him through the fight, but my selfishness had blinded me to seeing that.
When reflecting on this, his fight is not much different than mine. My advice to him is the advice I need. If I do not keep fighting the selfishness and the pride, it will overtake me. Also, if I think I can stand alone on the frontlines of the battleground in my heart, I will be overtaken. In fact, I need to take a lesson from my son. I need to go to someone stronger than me. I need Christ!
So keep fighting your struggles, but not in your own strength. Fight for dependence, faith, and trust in Jesus to fight for you! Stay in his word, stay in prayer, and run to him when the adversary rises up in you.
Sunday Reflections are short articles that share thoughts from weekly Bible reading, devotions, sermons, or times of worship. You can find more of them here.