Focused on Fear

By Teresa Tierney © 2012

Did I pray while our son, Brad, was in the hospital? How does one not pray when your child is that sick? Mostly my husband and I watched and waited for him to recover. It seemed my personal prayer time all but disappeared during those 13 days. Most of the time, my eyes were on him. Little him—Brad; not big Him—God. Yes, I prayed. But my prayers were either formal, spoken prayers with friends and family or brief, staccato prayers like, “Oh, God, help!”

Medical Staff Tending a Patient ca. 1980s-1990sOne night every alarm in the room went off. The TV monitor came to life and a doctor came on screen asking, “Did someone remove Brad’s vent?” The rest of her words faded away as nurses filled the room, talking to the TV while they assessed the damage. My prayer was pretty demanding that night—“Oh. My. God. What is happening?”

Another night I came awake unsure of what had disturbed me. Brad’s breathing was irregular but quiet. An odd stillness in the room drew me to his side. It took a moment for me to recognize the black substance pooling on his shoulder and running down his gown was blood. Brad had pulled out his central line. Once I understood it was Brad’s lifeblood gurgling out of his jugular vein, my prayer consisted of a single word, “Jesus!”

Throughout the eventful days of surgeries and midnight alarms, I focused my prayers on seeking God’s protection for Brad’s life. About a week after the first surgery, the doctor told me Brad was no longer improving, and he didn’t know why. He said he had done all he knew to do. Now, it was a waiting game. I chose not to share those words with my husband. I thought I needed to protect him from this additional stress. I kept those words to myself and fear moved in.

From that point on, I lived with a question mark in the back of my mind. “What is God’s plan for Brad?” I continued to ask God to restore Brad’s health and save his life. With every step forward, I was confident of his plan. But with every step back, the question surfaced again, “What is God’s plan?”

Notice I wasn’t asking God. I was asking myself. I began to manage my stress and pray a little less. I began to reason. I knew I needed to trust God with my son’s life, but a voice began to whisper I might soon be entrusting God with Brad’s eternal life. I remembered the biblical Job, who lost his children and his health. God had not shielded him from tragedy. Should I expect to be?

When I finally shared my fear with my sister, she urged me to talk to the doctor. His surprise at my question gave me immediate peace. “Cancer? What made you think that?” He didn’t know why Brad wasn’t progressing, but he had no concern that an unknown cancer was the cause. My mind now at ease, I quit waiting for the other shoe to drop. I trusted we were on the road to full restoration once my fear was brought into the light.

When I hid my fear, I left a crack open into the back alleyways of my mind and the secretive voice of fear took up residence there. Fear kept my eyes on Brad’s condition and caused me to doubt and question God’s plan. It wasn’t hard to keep my brain occupied so I could avoid the fear most of the time. But in avoiding it, I also avoided the truth.

The enemy lied, telling me I needed to keep the doctor’s words from my husband. This gave him a dark, dank corner to grow his favorite moldy old poison—fear. That fear roared so loudly it almost drowned out my faith. Once I admitted my fear, truth was spoken to the dark lie.

Seeking the truth set me free. God’s word calls us into the light and once I stepped into the light of truth, I was free of fear and trusting God once again. I no longer tried to couch my faith in terms of he may or he may not heal. Once again, I was confident in God’s plan.

Fear is the ultimate lie—declaring our circumstances are beyond God’s control. The next time I have more questions than prayers, I’ll ask God to reveal the lie blocking my view of his truth.

When Jesus healed the epileptic child (Mark 9:23-24), he told the father, “If you can believe, all things are possible.” Like the epileptic’s father, I cry out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.”

Have you experienced doubt or fear in your life? I hope you will share in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Teresa Tierney is a freelance writer, wife, mother of two, grandmother of three.  She blogs at You may contact her at

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