But now, says the Lord —— Isaiah 43:1-2 (CEB)
the one who created you, Jacob,
the one who formed you, Israel: Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched and flame won’t burn you.
When children have loose teeth, there seem to be two major ways things happen.
The first goes something like this: The moment even the slightest wiggle is detected, the central and overriding purpose of life is getting that tooth out. The tongue is constantly probing at the tooth, as well as fingers and countless other implements. Every person encountered gets an update on the upcoming event. If it is more than three days until the tooth is gone, it’s a shock.
The second subset is children who find out from the dentist they have a loose tooth. When an adult asks how the tooth is doing, they seem to have little idea. They may even have to check pretty thoroughly to even know which tooth is the loose one. The loose tooth could stay safely in the child’s mouth for weeks, with little or no interruption from the child.
I was in a hurry to get rid of those loose baby teeth. If something new and exciting was going to happen, I wanted that moment to arrive quickly. Even if I had some anxiety about the change, I still was in a rush for the wait to be over. I would ask a thousand questions about the process: how I will lose the old teeth, and how I would get the adult teeth, was something I wanted to understand intimately. The economics of the tooth fairy were more interesting than any cartoon.
Any anxiety causing change in my life is similar for me. I want to get to understand everything that will happen, and I want the change to happen – NOW! I understand that some of us deal with anxiety in very different ways, just like you strange folks who could leave your loose teeth alone.
Back-to-School this year is creating more anxiety for families and students than any other year. We’re all handling it differently, but the anxiety is all very real. COVID is creating other anxieties, as well, in every aspect of our lives, from questions of financial security to worries that healthcare being deferred will lead to more severe problems. I hope the words from Isaiah 43 will give you some comfort. We aren’t facing literal flood waters and fires, but we are looking into a future we can’t predict.
God created us. Christ has redeemed us. The Holy Spirit knows us. We are not alone; God is with us through all of the new adventures and anxieties. Whether we obsess or try to forget the challenges ahead, God has always been with us on the journey.
Traveling with you,