“I’ve been under the desk, not because of false evidence that appears real, but because life can be full of suffering, and horrible things happen to people who love God. “

When the alarm sounded, we knew the drill—duck and cover, immediately stop what we were doing and get under our desks. If Dixon, Kentucky was about to suffer a nuclear attack by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, otherwise known as the USSR, my fourth-grade class was prepared. Somehow, the metal and white Formica-topped desks with plastic trays would protect us from a nuclear warhead mounted on the top of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, otherwise known as an ICBM. The 80’s were a great time for acronyms—USSR and ICBM being infamous favorites. 

When Grant died, I stopped what I was doing and got under my desk. For so much of the last ten months, I’ve lived under the desk, braced for impact, waiting and worrying about the next tragedy that could fly into our lives and explode them again. I’ve written before about how much grief feels like fear and living under the desk was the only way I thought I could protect myself from the next explosion.

I’ve thought a lot about that acronym of fear I learned in Sunday School about the same time I learned to leap under my desk to protect me from a nuclear attack—FEAR, otherwise known as False Evidence Appearing Real. Here’s the catch—I’ve been under the desk, not because of false evidence that appears real, but because of real evidence that life can be full of heartache and suffering and that horrible things happen to people who love God. My son really died one day before his twenty-fifth birthday. Some days, it just hits me—this really did happen. He is gone and never coming back. That’s not false evidence, it’s true—the worst thing that can happened to a father and mother happened to us and I’ve been hiding under the desk ever since because if that can happen then anything can happen.

But it’s cramped under the desk. And it really doesn’t feel that safe, either.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing a voice, calling me out from under the desk. It’s a gentle voice asking me to believe that even a small amount of faith is greater than fear. So, I’m trying to believe again—to ask God to do big things in my life. I’ve got a list of what I call my seven big requests that I pray every day. It may feel safer curled up under the desk, but I’m trying to stretch my faith again. One of my prayers is for hope and healing for my family—that’s a big ask because for ten months it’s been so difficult to believe that could even be possible, but today, I’m coming out from under the desk and choosing faith over fear. 

That’s my encouragement for you today, come out from under the desk. It really can’t protect you from a nuclear attack anyway.