by Jenni DeWitt
When I was a little girl, I was terrified that our house would catch on fire. I would lay awake for hours, staring at the ceiling, as the hot fear raced through my veins like the fires of my imagination.
Over the years, the fear shifted to bad grades and fear of failure, but it was always there. Then I started having children, and the anxiety exploded like a vicious weed.
Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. (Mark 4:18-19)
In my heart, the word of God was choked with the thorns of anxiety.
So I lived like that, captured in cycles of fear, until one day in 2012 when my 2-year-old son was diagnosed with leukaemia.
I was in shock as the anxiety threatened to overtake me. How could I ever survive all this fear?
But in the silence of my son’s hospital room, God spoke to me. Through His Word, He took my hand and helped me up. Then He showed me the story of Peter walking on water. Peter was fine at first, as He kept His eyes focused on Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30)
I began to understand that I was walking on the water of my anxiety and, just like Peter, I would start to sink if I took my eyes off Jesus. But that didn’t mean I would drown.
God was there in the middle of the storm. I could call out to Him, “Lord save me!” And he would come. He did come. He rescued me time after time as we waited for test results and watched our son fight for his life.
Every time He rescued me with His peace that passes understanding, I could feel the thorns of anxiety being cut away from my heart one by one.
In this way, over time, God tended my heart so that His word could fall on rich soil.
“But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:20)
Is there a Bible verse that speaks to you with comfort in moments of great anxiety? Have you ever tried saying the verse out loud? Did it help?
Jenni DeWitt is a recovering control freak who is discovering the value of rest and silent prayer in the midst of this rushed society. She is the author of two books — Forty Days and Why Won’t God Talk to Me? Jenni lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons. Her youngest son has been battling cancer since the age of two. Jenni loves to find Jesus in the everyday and writes about rejecting fear and choosing trust at Genuflected.com.