My immediate response to that a question like that should be; “of course, in time, everything will get sorted out.” But, in the depths of the night, when my mind is turning somersaults, I find myself feeling less confident.
I have looked at some of those warm phrases on social media, and found myself comforted for a short while but, it soon passes as the cold reality of my fears surfaces again. That is the way my fears tend to work. They have a habit of nagging away just below the surface and, in the depths of the night, they take on form again.
I can remember being told many times, in my formative Christian years, that worry and anxiety merely showed my lack of trust and faith in God. Therefore, if I worried I was sinning. Not surprisingly, that did not stop me worrying, it only caused me to bury my worries deeper. They would then put in appearance later. What I learnt very quickly was, telling somebody “don’t worry” doesn’t stop them worrying!
In the light of our present circumstances, I don’t need to share with you what my fears and worries are. I am sure many of you have enough anxiety and worry of your own!
What I do want to give, in my writing this piece, is something that I have been reflecting on.
Today, I was reading a piece about Julian of Norwich. She was an anchoress in the late 14th – early 15th century. She lived through some terrible times in our nation. The Black Death, The Peasants Revolt, and the persecution of the Lollards.
During this time, she had 15 showings or visions. They were written a book known as “Revelations of Divine Love”. These revelations are the oldest surviving book written in the English language by a woman.
It was her 13th showing that spoke to me as I spent some time in quiet this morning. She had been struggling with something that was really troubling her. It was nagging away and she really seemed to get no rest from this deep seated fear when God spoke to her. This is what she writes;
“But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these words and said: ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’
These words were said most tenderly, showing no manner of blame to me nor to any who shall be saved.”
Perhaps you recognize that phrase all shall be well. But, the part that really spoke to me was These words were said most tenderly.
I have come to understand that fear and worry are a natural part of all of us. How we process and respond to our worries and fears will vary from individual to individual. Far from being a sin, I think denying our concerns demonstrates a greater lack of trust in the goodness of God.
As Julian of Norwich saw, when we share our deepest of fears with God, we are not met with condemnation but with compassion. As the prophet Isaiah says;
“Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
(Isaiah 54 vs. 10)
If you are worried. If you are fearful. If you are anxious. Please do not bury it, but share with those you trust and you can share it with God, who has compassion for you.