I’ve only seen my husband be truly afraid twice. The first time happened during and after the birth of our child. Our daughter was born premature at 31 weeks and spent 6 weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I was comforted by prayers and this peace that my daughter would make it home to us, eventually, and be a happy little one. And she was, is a happy camper. I had bouts of anxiety and never thought to ask my husband how he felt when she was in the NICU. It was only during our son’s short stint in the NICU that he said he wasn’t afraid with him and how he’ll turn out. He was afraid when he saw his daughter weigh three pounds. He was afraid when he saw his daughter lose weight. Through it all, he was my rock and comforted me and silently prayed for his daughter.
So when our son was born, he wasn’t afraid. He already saw a miracle forming with our daughter’s beginning.
Hurricane Harvey wasn’t that long ago. Our neighbors and families watched the news with abated breath as the rain battered down on Houston. We live about 30 minutes north from downtown and already knew which parts of the freeways would flood. We knew when we could leave the neighborhood and when to stay put. On Monday, the entrance to the neighborhood completely flooded, effectively cutting off 1600 homes from the outside. Roads leading to the neighborhood became impassable. We became our own little island and most families hunkered down as the rain continued to fall. There were some light rain and a bit of reprieve and we took that opportunity to check on our neighbors.
As night fell, the water rose higher and started to inch closer to our driveway. I was anxious and took breaks to the bathroom so my 5 year old wouldn’t see me freak out.
I was terrified and for the second time in our marriage – my first time seeing it – my husband was too. We moved furniture to higher ground and started packing clothes and necessities.
Sometime before midnight, I fell asleep clutching my babies, leaving my husband to watch the water level. Sometime in the wee hours, we learned that neighbors further down the street were being rescued by boats. I truly can’t even tell you how I could see through all that but I woke up just as the sun was rising and to my relief, saw the rain had let up and the water had receded.
My husband right before he crashed for bed, said he stayed up all night watching the news, and praying. It was his anxiety that increased my fear and his relief brought me mine.
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.
If my husband’s relief and comfort gave me joy, how much more does my Father’s? Yes, we all know fear. Seeing the aftermath of Harvey and later, Irma, justified fear. In the midst of the storm, we all saw something else too. We saw people coming together and truly being stewards of Christ. It was knowing that in the aftermath, God will be there that brought me comfort and seeing His children take part – and still to this day, taking part – has brought me joy.