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The Pain and Anxiety of Love

As a newer father I have found that my emotional capacity for love has dramatically increased and is now embarking into uncharted territory. Loving so deeply as I do with my sons, I am brought to an exponentially greater understanding of God's love, and risk, of creating beings in his image.

My sons have been "created in my image", for not only do they look exactly like me, but they have also been born of my genetic makeup (warts and all). And while this creates a bond and closeness that is quite indescribable, there is nothing that has merited this closeness other than the fact that I am aware that they are my offspring. And let's face it; they don't have jobs, they don't pay any bills, they don't really contribute to the family in any meaningful way. The youngest can't even communicate anything at all at this point and he has only started smiling at me. Yet in spite of there being no "real" and "tangible" merit for my love, it barely knows any bounds for them. I have struggled unlike ever before with anxiety, fear, and worry - all a byproduct of my love, affection, and protection of them. I worry about something bad happening to them, I fear someone mistreating them or hurting them, I fear all sorts of things, both of the rational and irrational variety.

And lo, at the end of it all, I have no real control over any of these things that could happen in the future. In fact, Jesus even specifically tells me to not worry about anything that could happen tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of it's own (Mat 6:34). Thanks a lot Jesus.

But seriously, why do I worry? And why all of a sudden now? I believe it is because my love, manifesting itself with my small children who cannot protect themselves, causes me to realize just how vulnerable and out of control of life I truly am. It is clearing the foggy distortion that I have some control over life. This is a scary thing.

Just the other night while my two year old son was struggling with some sort of viral infection that gave him a pretty good fever, got the chills and was shaking in obvious discomfort and pain. In the midst of his discomfort I had a wave come over me that was instinctual, and not at all volitional, that caused me in an instant to not only be willing but to desire to do whatever it took to bring my son comfort in that moment. Even if it meant giving my own life. It's sort of crazy where this stuff even comes from. I am more and more convinced that God has innately hard wired these things into us that remain dormant until the time is right.

These experiences bring greater color, depth, and clarity for me to passages like Abraham sacrificing Isaac out of his faith and reverence for Yahweh, or Jesus' mom standing at the foot of the cross of her son's execution. It also makes practicing teachings like in Philippians 4 to not be anxious about anything all the more difficult to carry out (Phil 4:4-8).

It also creates a magnified gratitude in me for God's love and restraint. His restraint to not rescue Jesus from the clutches of pain, torture, and death in order that I might be saved (Mat 26:53). His vulnerability and risk to create Adam and Even in the first place and give them the choice to hurt him (Gen 2:15-17). His love to create me in his image, and allow me to spit in his face (Acts 2:23). Even the thought of my son one-day spitting in my face breaks my heart.

So in the midst of all of this love producing anxiety, fear, and pain, I am brought to my knees in prayer, trusting and allowing God's strength to be made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor 12:7-10). In this I shall delight and boast.


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