The phone rings, the pause gives it away, the prognosis … known. Within your mind, a flood of thoughts swell up. Fear starts to build as the unknown haunts you. Numerous questions come to that council room in your head, demanding answers, seeking relief. So much of your time and energy is extinguished as you build bridges over all the “what if,” “what about” and “why” questions you don’t dare try to answer.

Sleep escapes you in the grips of fear, while you search for peace and resolution. The words of family and friends are so well intended, yet seem to only suppress the agony of the unknown for a brief moment. If there is the reality of this — this circumstance, this sickness, this situation of anxiety and stress — then could there be … is there the reality of peace, rest and calm while in this storm?

A few years ago, my son was lying there on a gurney in pre-op, prepared for aortic replacement surgery that would take eight hours. As I kissed his forehead, the talk, the words and the prayers were done. But the “test” was still to come. Do I carry this over into worry and anxiety? Will my mind race to all the percentages and issues that the doctor spoke about? My son will be under the knife while Dad is left in this room. Will time stand still?

As I left the pre-op, I turned around at the door and looked back with tears in my eyes. I lifted up my hands, a gesture made on the day he was born, and I said, “Into Your hands, I trust.”

I wasn’t speaking to a ritual, or a dead religion based on guilt, condemnation and control. I was speaking to the Creator, the Author, the great Physician. Nor was I just throwing some positive words out into the air. I had left the situation with Him. I had given up in surrender that He is … and I’m not. I knew there was no level of “worry” that I had to bring to the table to hopefully make it good enough.

A picture was taken of me in the private waiting room during my son’s ordeal. I’m asleep. Can you manufacture peace? For those who dwell in the “me” philosophy of themselves, where can they place their trust during the storms of life?

There is a story of some guys out on a boat. A terrible storm had arisen, with the wind and waves crashing on top of them. But asleep in the boat was the guy whose idea it was to go out in the first place. It was Jesus, who had said, “Let us go to the other side of the lake.” The other terrified men on board awakened him with fear and a worrisome question. He calmed the storm and then asked why they were so afraid. It wasn’t their human tendency to fear, but rather they refused to see Him for who He was — His presence, His promise, His power and purpose.

So how to “leave it?” When you’ve come to the point of exhaustion with worry, and are trying to manage the chaos by attempting to be stronger, “mind over matter” doesn’t work. But it’s only at this point that you will finally be able to “let it go.” In self-defeat, we can acknowledge the God who is — not with lip service but with absolute release — to experience peace in the storm. I wonder how long we will go through the storm before coming to the “end of ourself,” then go awaken the One who cares?

The Howler Magazine