That’s like telling a mom, Don't Breathe. It’s what we do. It’s in the Mom Handbook. Childbirth encodes it into our DNA.
Because, after all, we all know that worrying changes things. Moves mountains. Holds back disaster. And who wouldn’t want that for their kids, right?
But recently, I heard God clearly whisper those words to my heart: Don’t worry.
The instruction went against everything I was feeling. Against all my motherly inclinations.
I’ve written before about my son Micah’s fight against cystic fibrosis, a genetic, progressive respiratory and digestive disease that slowly and insidiously destroys the lungs of its victims. Many people with CF eventually have lung transplants.
Preserving lung health and function in CF patients is Priority One. This means trying to keep their lungs free of infection – no easy task. The mucus in their lungs is sticky – like honey – trapping bacteria and viruses and providing the perfect environment to colonize.
Over Spring Break, Micah contracted a nasty case of the flu. It’s the sickest I’ve seen him since he was an infant. And the cough. The cough was horrible. And it would not go away.
His fever left.
His energy returned.
But the cough remained. Deep and persistent, despite all efforts to destroy it.
His lung function tests hit a new low during the worst of his illness. Even three weeks ago, his tests were somewhat improved, but still stubbornly below what they were prior to this awful flu.
His pulmonary doctor looked concerned. “If Micah’s lung function tests don’t recover by his next visit, we’re going to have to hospitalize him and give him IV antibiotics over a 10-day period,” he said. “If we don’t catch this now, it may lead to a further decline and he’ll never get back to where he was.”
Micah started on a new, more powerful antibiotic. Slowly, that awful cough diminished. Within five days, it was gone completely. Relief.
But then, about a week before his visit to the pulmonologist, the cough began to slowly return. Not as powerfully. But it was there. Beckoning me to worry.
I could feel the anxiety well up inside of me. And that’s when I heard those words in my spirit. Don’t worry. Do what is within your power to help him, then leave the results to Me.
Over the past week, I’ve had many invitations to worry. Each time, those words came back to me. I’d say a prayer and then let it go. All the while, though, making sure Micah was eating right and taking his regular medications. And asking everyone I could think of to pray.
A couple of nights ago, at bedtime, Micah begged me not to leave the room.
Me: What’s wrong, honey?
Micah: I’m scared. I don’t want the IVs. Will I have to get the IVs?
Me: We’re doing all we can. Let’s pray and then let’s not worry, okay?
Micah: Okay. I’ll try.
Then, yesterday was THE day. The moment of truth.
I sat filled with nervous energy as Micah took a deep breath and blew into the lung machine for the respiratory therapist. Then I held my breath.
Wow. I think he’s up quite a bit since last time, the therapist said cautiously.
I slowly exhaled.
Quite a bit.
Micah gave three more hard breaths into the machine.
The therapist scanned his chart again. "Now, let me look at this. Micah, your overall lung function hasn’t been this good for more than a year. And Mom, his airway clearance measurement hasn’t been this high since 2007!”
My nervous energy turned to giddy relief. Micah and I high-fived. I nearly hugged the therapist.
And I praised God. The Great Physician. The Healer of body and soul.
More battles lay ahead. I’m sure of it. I will never run out of reasons to worry.
Micah’s body will remain a slave to cystic fibrosis, in some measure, as long as he lives.
But when we remember the words of his Maker, regardless of the odds or outcome, we can both move closer to being worry-free.
Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. Luke 12:25-27 (NLT)