If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.
- J.M. Coetzee
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
I still remember that night so well.
It wasn’t long after our son’s first deployment to Iraq. I’d just spoken to him on the phone that day, so my fears for his wellbeing should have been assuaged. Instead, in the early morning hours, I found myself jerked out of a terrifying nightmare by the scream that lodged in my throat. The intensity of that unvoiced fear for my son kept me from drawing a breath, and for a moment I feared I was about to suffocate.
I sat upright in bed, my pajamas drenched with sweat, finally drawing in a shaky breath. I tried to muffle my sobs, not wanting to wake my husband. But he was already there, reaching out and drawing me close. He didn’t even ask; he knew the terror I faced. I finally fell asleep with his hand holding mine, giving me the comfort I needed to rest.
My husband’s presence, his willingness to stay with me, calmed my fears and gave me the strength to risk another nightmare by going back to sleep. He was a physical reminder of the truth of this Scripture and the constancy of God.
Even as my husband provided a physical presence, God provides an ever-present spiritual one. He stays with me everywhere I go. I’m never out of his sight nor out of his mind. There have been many times I have almost felt his strong right hand giving me the strength I need to continue the task at hand.
That experience, and many more that followed, gave me the faith to believe that God was also with my son. Jimmy was never out of his sight, nor out of his mind, no matter what he faced on the battlefield.
Whatever our fears, God is able. More than that, he’s already there, offering us the comfort and peace we so desperately seek.
Edie Melson is a leading professional in the publishing industry. She also knows what it’s like to send a loved one off to war. Her oldest son went from high school graduation, to Marine Corp boot camp, to Iraq; where he served two tours fighting on the front lines as an infantry Marine. Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.