As I mentioned in my other blog, I’ve started attending a Bible study class on the book of Esther at one of the local Baptist churches.  While I’m planning to put most of what I feel, think, and learn about Esther on that site, there was just something so powerful, so strong, so soul-stirring about last night’s class that I want to share it on this blog as well. In fact, I’ve been thinking about one of the concepts on and off throughout the day. 

Last night we were asked if we knew what the most frequent command in the Bible was. Not certain, I kept quiet…and so did everyone else. I thought it might be something akin to “Love one another,” but I was dead wrong. The most frequent command in the Old and New Testaments is “Don’t be afraid.”  I was surprised, shocked actually. If it wasn’t about loving and serving others or bridling our tongues, then surely it was about some sin or another.  But no, some version of “Fear not” is the most common instruction from Genesis through Revelation.

Beth Moore, the person who wrote the materials for the course on Esther, has also produced a series of videos that accompany the workbook.  They are marvelous, and she is phenomenally inspiring. Last night she asked her audience to think of the thing(s) they were most afraid of in the world. Was it illness? Old age? Alzheimer’s? What about something happening to one of your children? Or what about your husband or sweetheart losing interest in you? What if, what if, what if????  

She then walked us through this scenario. “What if my husband becomes less attracted to me? What if he finds another woman, someone prettier and smarter and younger? What if my children like her? I’ll just die, that’s what I’ll do. And I’ll weep and wail and have a hissy fit. I’ll go to bed and not get up for weeks. I’ll never get over it. Never. I’ll be sad and mad for the rest of my life. I’ll try to poison him. I’ll slit her tires. Then I’ll scream and cry some more. And then I’ll brush off my shoulders and go back to work.”

Ms. Moore  then asked us to look at our workbooks and fill in the blanks of this phrase:  “And if __________, then _________. “ I think just about all of us started to put “I perish” in both of the empty blanks since those were Esther’s words. However, we were told to write one of our worst fears and then “God ” in the second one.  

If my husband leaves me, then God.
If something happens to one of my children, then God.
If I lose my job, then God.
If I receive a fatal diagnosis from my doctor, then God.
If I go into labor and my doctor is out of town, then God. (this one’s for Carrie)

God doesn’t promise that He won’t let “bad” things happen sometimes or that trouble will never visit you, but He does promise that HE WILL BE WITH YOU.  He says, “Trust me, not trust me not to let it happen but TRUST ME.”

As I watched and listened to the video, I was spellbound.  As DH can attest, I’m a worry wart, especially when it comes to my children. What if Carrie goes into labor while Rich is at work? What if Elizabeth gets in an accident on her way home tonight? What if Paul gets in an accident as he maneuvers the extremely busy highways in and around Atlanta? And don’t even get me started with the grandchildren. What if?? If __________, then God.

“Be brave. Be brave. Be brave,” Beth (I don’t think she’d object to the first name basis) said three times with feeling. Honestly, I don’t think there was a woman there who was unmoved.

My daughter Carrie is days (maybe hours) away from delivering her baby boy, and as the days pass, she’s becoming increasingly anxious. What if the doctor is not on call? What if he’s out of town? What if they can’t make it to Savannah on time? What if someone who’s lined up to help with the children can’t come over while she’s in the hospital?

I called her this morning and told her about last night’s lesson and reminded her that IF _______, THEN GOD.  He’s with her now and will be with her then. She just needs to have courage and fear not…and so does her mother.  Be brave Carrie. Be brave.