My 32nd birthday present was a positive pregnancy test. I took it during a lunch break as my co-worker waited eagerly outside the door of the coffee shop restroom. I’d been waiting for this moment long enough to feel shocked when it finally happened. When I saw those two blue lines, I burst breathless from the stall in astonishment…and terror.
This mixture of awe and terror didn’t end with the test. While moments of pregnancy felt miraculous—like the first scrape of feet and hands across my insides—my body changed in ways that horrified me, outpacing much of my joyous expectation. The mix of awe and fear didn’t end with the birth either. When our midwife left us alone to keep this tiny alien alive, I felt more like a baby than a mother. I now realize that the challenge of parenthood—and of life itself—involves struggling to lean into awe and away from fear when difficulties arise.
As they walk toward Jerusalem, fear threatens the disciples. Jesus takes the twelve aside to lovingly prepare them for his death. He doesn’t spare the difficult details, but he also promises a hopeful outcome. Because he is honest with them about the terror to come, they can trust his words about the resurrection he will experience.
In the difficult times when fear feels more powerful than hope, we still hear Jesus telling his disciples of every generation to lean into awe. We can trust that God walks beside us saying, “Look, terrible things are going to happen sometimes, and you will think that you can’t handle them, but I know you can. How do I know? Because I’m the one who rose again, and I am with you. Because we’ve spent a lifetime preparing for this, together.”
When have you been confronted with something you felt you couldn’t handle only to realize that God had prepared you better than you had imagined?
God, we forget how you strengthen us for the challenges we face. Help us trust the preparation and courage you give us; help us cling to awe. Amen.