“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.” Psalm 28:7a
Caught Off Guard
I looked out the window and saw his car sitting there. Emotion overwhelmed me and I couldn’t catch my breath. It all happened so fast, there was no time to process all the emotional changes that this would bring. Why did he choose the military? How could I be so proud and yet so confused? My physical body seemed to be reacting to feelings deeper than I had anticipated. I was caught off guard.
I heard a loud, heaving sigh leave my body. It seemed I was only an observer of my body now wracked with anxiety and panic. Nothing was ever going to be the same. In one day he became an adult who would never return to our family dinner table except as a beloved guest. He would never again return as a child. I felt a stripping-away process.
This morning it seemed he was just a little boy, but today he moved into his grown-up life. Uncertainty swirled around my mind with questions about boot camp. Horror stories I’ve heard raged in my mind. Would he stay strong and hold on to Jesus? Would he keep his faith?
More questions flooded my mind. Where would he be assigned, what would be his assignment, and of course the question you never want to ask: would he survive?
I was embarrassed by my own display of a lack of trust in the Lord. No one would ever know, but God was watching this ridiculous behavior. I asked myself, “How could you be acting like this when you know very well that there is no better place for him than in God’s hands? You have prayed for him all of his life, and have given him back to God.”
Although embarrassed, I admit to you, this process of truth over fear took three extremely difficult days before I allowed peace to reign. The period of boot camp was stressful as the letters arrived. I was leaning heavily on God’s truth and not letting fear take me by surprise. I would not be caught off guard again. I prayed scripture over him, especially Psalm 91, placing his name into the scripture-prayer.
The good that came from my unanticipated over-reaction is that this was just a part of my own “growing up” process of “letting go.” The eye-opening glimpse of my brief experience introduced me to some of the grief and tearing away felt by moms, grandmas, sisters, wives and other relatives who have had to let go of their loved ones until they meet again in heaven. I have a tiny bit more understanding and will pray for them now with a different heart and fervor.
“Lord, I never want to be caught off-guard again. You are my refuge and my strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Lord, may I grow closer to You through each experience that You allow. Thank You.”