You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
These words led me to reflect that in autumn the birds and animals in our garden busily stock up on food for the fast approaching winter. The squirrels collect and bury nuts for the coming days, whilst the birds and other animals simply eat as much as possible so as to live off their fat during the cruel winter months ahead. Having eaten their fill some birds migrate whilst the hedgehog and other creatures will hibernate until the warmer weather arrives. The animals, then, have their fears since, for them a harsh winter is quite simply a matter of life or death. They must do what they can to prepare for the worst.
We too have fears, doubts and worries that we face every day. Maybe something major like a terminal illness diagnosis, a relationship that is on the rocks, or perhaps the loss of someone we love. At times like these we can feel very lost and very alone. Then God appears to have forgotten us completely. Maybe though our fears are -- well, you fill in the blanks since you know what fears you face at this moment in time. But where is God when we need Him? No doubt He has better things to do than concern Himself with our troubles.
The Israelites had doubts and fears as they endured famine, slavery, exile, not to mention wandering in the desert for 40 years! Like us they cried out: ‘How long, Lord? Will you forget me for ever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?’ Psalm 13:1-2 (NIV).
Yet God knows each of us more intimately than we know ourselves and He cares for us. If He did not care why would He promise: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28(NIV). Hold on to that, but remember we cannot overcome our fears, our doubts our worries on our own. With God, however, everything is possible. Did He not say: ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ Hebrews13:5(NIV) God is there - and always will be - waiting for us to call on Him. I recall the words of a hymn that says: Take it to the Lord in prayer, and that is exactly what we must do.
After winter, spring comes, the hibernating animals awaken, the migrating birds return as God provides food for His Creation; their fears are overcome. In the same way when we take our fears to God in prayer despair evaporates into hope and our trust in God is rewarded.
God knows our fears and will free us from them when we call upon Him, about that there can be no doubt. Thanks be to God.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years