She wanted me to kiss all her dolls today. “Mr. Bear has bump!” Then, “Me doll has bump, too!” I kissed faux fur and plastic cheeks, and they were all better. What I really wanted was to kiss her little face, her wiggly front tooth that was knocked by some Other Kid in child care today. It bled and she cried when I gave her pasta for lunch. It hurts. My baby girl’s tooth hurts and I wish I could use my magical kisses to make it all better.
I’m reading Choose Joy by Kay Warren, an amazingly encouraging book for any human being who has ever struggled with feelings lagging behind the all-in commitment we’ve made to trust God with our destinies. This morning was Bible study (where my sweet girl got her tooth knocked loose), and Kay Warren said to me through the screen hanging in front of our little group:
“Why are you so afraid God won’t be enough?”
In my imaginary future, where something much worse than a wiggly tooth happens. I hold a brand-new baby and am filled simultaneously with wonder and dread. Wonder because there is no word for the way parental love knocks the breath out of me, and also breathes new meaning into every nook and cranny of my heart. And dread because suddenly there is a helpless, vulnerable creature whose existence depends on me and whose non-existence would unravel me completely.
Maybe I’m crazy for thinking these things (I feel crazy), but I often do. And I never pull through the projected devastating loss with any sort of dignity. In those imagined horrors I am empty, inconsolable, undone.
Why am I so afraid God won’t be enough?
It’s the Real Question, the one I’ve never been asked. I talk myself down with wisdom passed around years of Bible study circles. God doesn’t give grace to cover imaginary futures, just grace for today.
Today, there is a wiggly front tooth. And although I panicked a little when I realized she wasn’t shaking it off and there was real pain happening in her little mouth, we’re both ok. Grace. There is grace enough for today.
I don’t think it works like a pill, like I am suddenly cured of all fear of the future. But I want to answer the question. Why am I afraid? What ground do I have for that kind of quaking dread? What have I been given but grace on grace, the most beautiful gifts in a place that promises nothing like that. This is a broken planet, but I am loved here. This is an unfair, unjust, unreliable world, but I have never, not once, been abandoned by God. He has been more than my daily bread, he’s my morning and night song. In exchange for insecurity and fear I’m given a rock-steady track record and a promise that, no matter what happens here, this isn’t the end of the story. He’s the end of the story, and he’s good.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:4-5