When I was a senior in high school, my parents went on a trip. Due to the fact that I was not convinced I wanted to be solely responsible for my younger siblings, they kindly arranged for a couple to stay with us to be officially in charge. I remember it being a fun experience. The day arrived when my parents were supposed to get home, and the couple had another function to attend. Since I was 18, I knew we could definitely handle one afternoon and evening at home, so they left.
I remember my siblings headed to bed, but I decided to wait up. If I recall correctly, my parents called from the airport and said they had landed safely. The time was around 10, so I figured they would be home by 11 at the latest as we lived about 25 minutes from the airport.
Eleven came and went. 11:30, and I started to wonder what was happening. By midnight, I was rather worked up. Calling and waking the couple who stayed with us did not seem to be helpful. Neither did calling the neighbors. Basically I remember alternating pacing and praying. I kept trying to peek for lights on the road – we lived in the country, so passing cars were not in a plentiful supply.
When 12:30 came, I was almost hysterical but trying not to wake my siblings. I was prepared for the worst. Close to 1 a.m., a car with what seemed to be flashing lights turned into our long driveaway. Bracing myself for what only could be dreadful news, I went to open the door.
Upon seeing my parents there, I immediately burst into tears. Rather than a sheriff bearing bad news, a taxi was bringing my parents home when their car refused to start. Because they incorrectly assumed that I went to bed rather than waiting up, they did not call. As this was over two decades ago, the only cell phone they possibly had was a “phone in a bag” that they may or may not have managed to carry with them. Calling was a bit more complicated. So they didn’t and felt a bit horrible to discover their distraught daughter waiting at home. In fact, so much so, that I recall getting to miss school the next morning, so I could sleep and recover from my traumatic evening.
Although this memory is now from long ago in my life, I am not sure that I have moved past this area of fearing the worst. I typed most of this blog last night after my husband went out on a work call. After he had been gone 20-30 minutes, I heard sirens. Immediately I wondered if he had been in an accident. Amazing how quickly we can move from calm to panic. When he arrived home safely, I finally could relax. I imagine that as my children become teenagers and start going places on their own, many late nights are in my future. Not sure that sleep will come easily with them out and about! Does this anxiety really need to happen for the next decade?
As I am filled with worry, I need to look no further than my Bible when I am wondering my family is safe.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Avoiding anxiety will be a lifelong challenge. I appreciate the reminder that in EVERY situation, I can pray and petition God, presenting my requests to Him. Definition # 2 of petition found at Dictionary.com resonates with me.
A request made for something desired, especially a respectful or humble request, as to a Superior or to one of those in authority; a supplication or prayer:
My request for aid and assistance is not to be accompanied by demands but instead words of thanksgiving. By telling God what I need, He will listen. The result: the peace of God. Not a guarantee that all will be as I hoped or expected. Someday I may be getting a knock on the door that does not bring good news. Can I be at peace even then? Yes, because His peace is beyond comprehension – going past all understanding. God WILL guard my heart and my mind as I seek Him in prayer. This will be true whether the lights are from a police car or from a late night taxi bringing two tired parents home.