A Child in Harm’s Way

by Theresa M. Shaltanis

My daughter has been serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army since last year. Frankly, I don’t care about all the politics of whether our forces should be there. All I know is that I live in fear every day that she won’t come home. Does that show a lack of faith in God?

In my counseling experience with troops serving in Iraq and their families, I don’t know of a single person who isn’t struggling with your very concern: fear on behalf of his or her loved one.

Your daughter is precious to you, and you desire a good life for her. Knowing that she is in a potentially life-threatening situation would bring fear to anyone.

The Bible tells us that even those close to God and chosen by God for important tasks knew fear. When Adam realized he was naked, he was afraid. When Moses learned of the strength of his enemies, he was afraid. The angels who appeared to Mary and to the shepherds exclaimed, “Fear not!” Even the disciples, who spent time in Jesus’ presence, experienced fear.

Perhaps you can especially relate to David’s words: “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me” (Ps. 55:4-5).

But later in the psalm his faith informs a hopeful response: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you,” and, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;

I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (Ps. 56:3). We hear his gripping fear, and we hear how he goes directly to God with his struggles.

God knows that our fear is made lighter when we cast our cares on Him and when we seek support from others who can share our burden. You can ask others to pray for your daughter’s safety and to bring a sense of comfort to your fearful heart. Spend time with those who have loved ones serving in the armed forces in harm’s way, someone who knows what you’re going through. Talk to your pastor in order to lighten your load and receive comfort in this very difficult time. Finally, I encourage you to meditate on Scripture, specifically Is. 41:10 and John 14:27. God cares about your struggle and desires to bring peace to you during this frightening time.

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