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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

When anxiety throbs (and you need to remember God's faithfulness)

jenmichel@me.com

3:40 a.m. I am awake. It’s the dull and distant voice of anxiety rouses me. I can’t make out what it says – I have only the impression that I am being summoned to the mountain of worry. The trek begins early – if I’ll take it. * * * * *

This past summer, the owners of the current house we’re leasing contacted us to say that they were moving back from Asia. We’d need to find somewhere else to live.

This 1920’s center-hall colonial with its leaded glass was like a gift that had fallen from the sky when we’d come to Toronto two years ago. We’d dedicated an entire week to the process of looking for a house, not knowing of course that Toronto rental market was lean, and we’d have only three houses to see and consider. The housing crisis that had decimated the States, forcing so many owners into selling their homes (or worse, foreclosure), hadn’t crept north into Canada. Homes were selling here, and they were selling quickly, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price. It was for this reason that so few family homes were available to rent when we first moved to Toronto.

Two years later, the market has cooled a little, and we’re grateful to have had, not only the time to look for a new house, but more options from which to choose. Months ago, we thought we’d found a house that would be perfect for us: it was close to several friends from school, the neighborhood was quiet (by city terms), and the space were generous, especially considering the limitations of our current house (read: galley kitchen and 1.5 bathrooms).

Consider our shock when our realtor informed us that the property owner would not even consider that offer. He would not negotiate the terms, and he would not call our references: he was flatly refusing on the basis that he did not want to rent to a family with five kids.

Enter a new variable of uncertainty into the equation.

So Saturday, imagine our real sense of relief when, after that rejection and months of persistent looking, we saw a home in the neighborhood we love, with even better space than the first we’d seen and tried to lease. Yes! And because the first property hadn’t yet been leased, we figured there weren’t many families looking in January to move.

Wrong! Again, yesterday, we had disappointing news from our realtor. Another family is also bidding to lease the property, the one where I’d already been imagining our life.

What do you do when you face uncertainty? Impossibility?

You wake up at 3:40 a.m. to a dull throb in your chest.

But you refuse to let it grab hold.

With all the faith you can muster, you pray, heaving against the mountains of your impossibilities the tiniest mustard seed of faith.

And it’s not as if we have to believe that God will grant what we’ve asked exactly as we’ve asked it. Indeed, I am not too foolish to forget that I am a child, selfish and spoiled.

No, the faith we need is that God is good and will do good. No matter what.

And here’s a beautiful song by Sara Groves to remind us of exactly this. I think I’ll be listening to it quite a bit today.

 

He’s Always Been Faithful

 

Morning by morning I wake up to find

The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine.

Season by season I watch Him amazed,

In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways.

 

All I have need of His hand will provide

He’s always been faithful to me.

 

I can’t remember a trial or a pain

He did not recycle to bring me gain.

I can’t remember one single regret

In serving God only and trusting His hand.

 

This is my anthem, this is my song,

The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long.

God has been faithful, He will be again,

His loving compassion it knows no end.