He’s 19, chronically cryptic, and probably fine. The last e-mail we received — three weeks ago — mentioned that on weekends, he camps out in the wilds of Alaska in a $35 pup tent.
“Yeah, I’ve seen a few bears,” he mentioned.
“He” is the Son and Heir, working at a remote resort — no cell phone service — for the season. Never one for excessive communication — “How’s it going? Tell me everything!” “Fine” — he exceeded our expectations when he e-mailed, or called from the resort landline, once a week.
But then the weeks went by and there was nothing. And it was his birthday, and there was nothing. And while we weren’t necessarily panicking, we snatched at any information we could find — “His paycheck was automatically deposited last week, so he’s still working!”
Two parents, three sisters, all checking in on one another to see if anyone has heard anything.
Finally, I’d had enough. I called the resort directly and asked if the Son and Heir was breathing anywhere on the premises. The gift shop associate found him and dragged him to the phone.
“Oh, hi mom. I’ve been meaning to call you. I’m fine.”
It was an excessive amount of information to process quickly and all at once, but I managed.
Anybody who has kids knows that you can’t be there for them all the time, and the older they get, the more they’re gone — doing things you’d prefer to hear about only after they’ve finished doing them, and even then it’s questionable whether you really want to know. If you spent your time trying to piece together the limited information at your disposal to come up with an idea of what is — or could potentially be — happening in their lives, you will drive yourself mad with frustration and fear.
You simply do not have enough information.
We never do, actually, at any point in our lives. Though circumstances are a grand part of each day’s existence, they’re not enough to predict the future, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. We look at where we are, what we’re doing, how we’re feeling, what the boss said as she passed by our desk (and what did she really mean by that, anyway?) and come to conclusions that usually don’t come true.
We lose our job and we worry that we will never work again, the house will foreclose, the dog will die, and our teeth will fall out because the dental insurance went with the weekly paycheck. Although Jesus tells us to not be anxious (“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27) and Paul reminds us that we live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), we persist in looking at what we see and drawing conclusions from what this seems.
At some point, what we see and the conclusions we draw exceed our ability to cope, and the problems we face go “. . . far beyond our ability to endure,” as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, “so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts, we felt the sentence of death.”
I’ve felt that way — facing a future that looks bleak indeed — and not seeing anything, anywhere that will change that. But there’s the rest of the verse:
“But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope.”
When the apostle Paul talks about deadly peril, he really means the “deadly” part, but wherever we are, whatever we are facing, we have the same hope he had in a God that not only is so great and powerful that He can do anything, but so loving and compassionate that He hears our desperate cry.
He will deliver us. On him we have set our hope.
Speaking of hope, my Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson,
paints beauty, inspiration and hope in his landscapes, seascapes, figurative, and seasonal work. And he makes it affordable by offering it in a variety of formats — originals, prints, licensed work, posters. You are always free to contact me, Carolyn, at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how you can own one of Steve’s beautiful artworks.
- Steve Henderson Fine Art (Inspirational posters begin at $10.95; original paintings and signed limited edition prints for reachable, reasonable prices)
- Great Big Canvas (licensed open edition art prints begin at $29.99)
- Light in the Box (licensed open edition art prints begin at $9.99)
- Sagebrush Fine Art (licensed open edition art posters begin at $16)
- Amazon.com, AllPosters.com, Art.com (licensed open edition art posters begin at $17.99)
Manufacturers and retailers — license Steve’s work through Art Licensing
This article was originally published in ThoughtfulWomen.org