When the kids are gone and summer is flying fast and the morning chill portends to fall. When the news is bleak with buckled houses and panicked faces and fierce mobs shooting in the streets. When hopes fade and fears swell and what’s on the horizon seems like more than you can face, you can either give into the gloom, let it swallow you like an ocean, roll you into its dark depths.

Or you can kick back against the waves.

Cup your hands and keep swimming.

In times like these, “This is how we learn to trust and continue to trust and lean on Yeshua in prayer,” my mother once wrote to encourage me, using the Hebrew name for Jesus, soft as a whispered plea.

Last week would have been her 72nd birthday. She’s been gone for seven years now. Or something like that. The numbers get muddled in my head. All I know is that I miss my mother the way I miss my grown children – one on the West Coast, one an hour’s drive north, another leaving for college in upstate New York.

Whirling in this troubled sea, I need an anchor for my anxious heart. A guarantee that someday we will all be gathered back safe together again. But my head is so full of worry, there’s little room for anything else. So on my computer I type, ‘Jesus, Scripture, Peace.’ Up pops page after page of ancient promises for a modern age.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” John 14:27.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you,” Isaiah 26:3.

“I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope,” Jeremiah 29:11.

There verses appear on the pages of Country Living, Parade and Women’s Day – magazines better known for gardening tips than tips about God. But today, with sickness surging and the future uncertain, we are all searching for peace it seems. Perhaps there are no atheists in fox holes after all. Or maybe in our deepest souls, we each desire to know that when summer is flying and the news is bleak and our fears speak louder than our faith, we are not alone.

“This is how we learn to trust and continue to trust and lean on Yeshua in prayer,” my mother wrote.

Not by giving in to despair.

Not by pretending that the future isn’t tinted with trouble.

But by learning to lean on Jesus in prayer.




Whisper a plea.

Cup your hands and keep swimming.

Looking for a way to help children overcome their fears?

Perfect for fall, check out The Lantern Hill Light Parade, my favorite book in my Lantern Hill Farm picture book series for children, available for just $2.99 through Christianbook.com, along with other suppliers, and through your local bookstore by request.

Meadow Rue Merrill, author of the memoir, Redeeming Ruth, writes from a little house in the big woods of Midcoast Maine. She is also the author of the children’s picture book The Best Birthday and four other books celebrating the holidays with activities that build children’s faith.