I fasten the baby snug in his infant car-seat, and he wails out with desperate cries. I have heard of children that drift off to sleep in the car, but this is not the theme we have going. Incessant screaming ensues almost without exception. It seems that none of my babies enjoy the car ride until they can face forward.
Maybe it’s a fundamentally human desire to want to see the direction one is going? Or perhaps the overwhelming sensation of going in reverse is unbearable?
I buckle myself hastily and find directions for the long and winding drive ahead. I hear the older brother lean in close to the baby and say, “That’s it, face your fears buddy!” . . . My stress melts for a moment with this brotherly perspective of encouragement. Then he leans in again “Don’t worry, you have done so much in your life already buddy—you came and made me a big brother! . . . You are not alone—the saints are cheering you on!” I pause and smile for a moment from my seat at the wheel. Then I think of how I sometimes grip the wheel of life with white-knuckled fear or with the frustration of feeling stuck in my mothering efforts. The unclear direction I face, as well as the search for what lies ahead, can make me, the mother, cry with internal desperations.
What the older brother touches on is pivotal: current feelings do not define the whole of existence. He is reminding the baby that, in only a few short months of life, God has established a proven track-record of purpose and faithfulness. The powerful reality is that God can do great things in and through our lives—despite our circumstances or abilities. We may feel small and stuck, or we may even have the sensation that we are going in reverse. The trial of facing fear and overcoming assailing frustration is a genuine suffering. The older brother did not make light of the little guy’s fears, but tenderly placed them in the broader context of the whole of life and learning a way to speak truth to those fears. May we take hold of faith and embrace the path of trusting confidently in these pivotal moments. In the midst of our desperate cries, we can find joy in the truth of Christ’s love. We can cling to him and receive strength that is not of our own rallying. Here, in these palpable moments, heaven does cheer us on—to overcome,and to come to know the mercies of Christ’s heart intimately in and through all things.
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid . . . for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you (Deut 31:6).