According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009 (9.3 percent of persons aged 12 or older).
“I can’t believe the mess our country is in!” “There’s a huge epidemic of drug abuse going on. No place is immune. I’m so scared me for my children.” “My kid says all his friends smoke pot and he’s never going to stop. Even some of their parents use it. I’m sick about it.” “It feels like everyone knows someone who’s been diagnosed with a mental illness lately. It worries me about my son. Could he have a problem too?” “There was another suicide at my daughter’s middle school. It’s so awful. It really makes me nervous others will also act out.”
The evening news continuously bombards us with disturbing reports of suicides, overdoses, illegal activity, drug raids and unsettling activities of all kinds in our neighborhoods. We wonder if one of our children will be affected – or have they been already? As parents with heavy hearts over the behaviors, struggles, and choices of our sons and daughters, this awareness feeds our anxieties, only making them grow.
There was a time when my husband and I worried Could our daughter be using drugs? Does she have a drinking problem? Is she cutting herself? Are you tormented by similar thoughts? Or perhaps one of these: Does my child have an eating disorder? a mental illness? contemplating suicide? attracted to the same-sex? Are they considering marriage with their same-sex partner? Could they have a problem with pornography or sexual promiscuity? contract HIV or AIDs? be arrested or serve time in prison? Become estranged and cut themselves off from you?
It’s frightening to imagine the answer being yes to any of these. Perhaps you already know one of them is – or more than one. One of your biggest problems is fear. It’s the monster that looms large in your heart and mind consuming any peace you once enjoyed.
When I wrestled with fear God reminded me of these verses in the Bible:
I called on Your name, O Lord, out of the lowest pit.
You have heard my voice, “Do not hide your ear from my prayer for relief, from my cry for help.”
You drew near when I called on You;
You said, “Do not fear!’
(Lamentations 3: 55-57)
Have you fallen into a deep, dark, frightening pit? Did you beg God for relief?
I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’ve attempted to come close to my Maker I haven’t always felt Him there. Oh yes, many times I have felt Him near – powerfully – but not every time. Sometimes He felt far away. Those were the times I had to rely on faith – not feelings – and on what I believed to be true. These inspired words from Lamentations helped. They encouraged me to believe that when I prayed, when I called out to and sought God, when I did my best to seek Him in my pain and fear, He would respond.
He doesn’t play hide and seek with us.
He hears and draws near.
He not only hears, but He takes action.
He’s moved by your pain.
It touches Him.
He’s not apathetic. Don’t you believe that. It’s a lie.
What does the Lord say? “DO NOT FEAR!”
God addresses your need. He knows fear is close, constantly lurking right beneath the surface . . . BUT He’s closer.You know what this emotion can do to you, friend. That sense of foreboding of what might be ahead, out there somewhere in the future. Of so many what-ifs and unknowns. If you weren’t already in your lowest pit, fear could throw you there.
Dear mom or dad, hear your Heavenly Father, King of the Universe, for whom nothing is too hard, whisper to your heart to not be afraid. May His reassurance lift you out of the pit and set your feet on solid ground, even if your world is thrown into upheaval. You can know He is near. You are Not Alone.
In the Powerful Name of Jesus.
What three words do worried parents need to hear? We need to hear from God. And He says,
Do. Not. Fear!
What helps you overcome your fears? Please share in comments so we can help each other!