Not for the Fear of Stomach

We all have our fears. Our heart-stopping, breathtaking, bone-chilling phobias we would rather do anything than face. Some of us fear needles, heights, or dangerous, predatory animals. Some of us quake in fright at only the thought of spiders, snakes, or speaking in public. A few of us fear the absence of cell phone coverage.

For me, it’s the stomach bug.

When two kids from my toddler class lost their lunches within 24 hours of each other, it was a summons to battle. Armed with Clorox wipes, Lysol spray, and disposable gloves, my fellow teachers and I attacked any surface we thought might have at one time possibly been somewhat contaminated. And everything else.

We threw all the stuffed animals and baby doll blankets in the wash, and when somebody else got sick we washed them again. Three more kids came down with the virus. I washed my hands, washed kids’ hands, and washed my hands again. Then Clorox-wiped the door handles, because who knows who touched those since this morning.

But whatever works, right? Tease me all you want, but our class hasn’t had another case of the upsets in three days.

Until this afternoon.

We thought we were past it. Thought the rest of us had missed it. Then—nope.

When I got home I went on a walk, listing my frustrations with every step.

I have my whole weekend planned out—time with family and some friends from out of town. And what else could I have done, anyway? I did everything I could, and the germs still claimed another one.

What if my dreaded nemesis infects me, too, and all those plans bottom out?

Even as I fumed, I realized the whininess of my attitude. Good grief, Lauren, there are refugees living in tents right now and you’re worried about weekend plans. Some people have hardships you can’t even hold a candle to and you’re worried about something you can’t control.

But soon I realized…I can’t control it.

I can’t control who in my class gets the stomach bug or doesn’t. All my Lysol-spraying and Clorox-cleaning didn’t stop the germs from infecting yet another child in my class. They can’t guarantee anything.

Only the God who created our germ-fighting bodies has any say in—any control over—who stands and who succumbs to the stomach virus.

Why worry?

Will it add an hour to my life? Or a day to our healthy streak?

In Mark 4, the storm raging around Jesus and His disciples’ boat was so strong the fishermen feared for their lives (maybe thanatophobia—fear of dying, aquaphobia—fear of water, or even thalassophobia—fear of the sea). These men were staring their deepest horror in the face. Or so they thought. Jesus woke from his nap but didn’t grab a bucket to bail more water out, instead simply asking, “‘Why are you so afraid?’” (Mark 4:40).

“Why are you so afraid?”

Do you think they forgot Who was in the boat? Or maybe they just forgot what He could do?

With a word from Him, the storm stopped. Just like that. It had been under His control all along.

Why are you so afraid?

You know, some trust in Clorox wipes and some trust in Lysol. We know that we can’t control anything even with those weapons.

But we also know Who is in the boat.

No matter what fear we face.


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