A Safe Dwelling Place
by: Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD
A few weeks ago a neighbor told my son a scary story that got to him. For the first time in his life he became afraid of the dark. He kept picturing the “bad guys” from the story and feared someone was in his room. As fear and worry threatened to steal his joy, our whole family stepped in to help.
I first shared with him an acronym I once heard for fear – False Events Appearing Real. Although sometimes fear is a gift that alerts us to true dangers, fear is often based on false impressions and anxiety over highly improbable events. Indeed, most of what we fear never comes true, but fretting over the possibility robs us of mental, emotional, and physical energy as well as precious time. This acronym helps me stop to analyze my emotions and dismiss any thoughts of false events appearing real in my mind. Although this can be difficult to do, dwelling on such thoughts is destructive to the soul (and body) and a waste of time and energy.
Beyond sharing the acronym, my husband and I reminded our son that prayer is powerful. We’d just been given a children’s book about Psalm 91, so we read it together. We then printed the psalm and taped it on our son’s door, and he now prays it nightly before going to bed. He has slept well ever since.
This powerful psalm begins with these words,
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.’”
(Psalm 91:1,2, emphasis added)
Whether or not our worst fears come true, we have a refuge and fortress in God. When we learn to trust Him, we experience an inner peace that endures regardless of our circumstances. With God in our lives, we are never alone.
As a mother, I am thankful that even when I am not around, my children are safe as long as I teach them to rest in the shadow of the Almighty. His Word assures us that he who dwells there… will rest. May we all learn to trust the One who left the safety of a heavenly kingdom to dispel the darkness of our world and show us what life is all about.
Merry Christmas from the Hope Team!