Trust. Believe. And A Missing Kid At DollyWood (ahem)…

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

We ate our sack lunches under a tall umbrella, all eight of us squished together round an octagon table.  My friend Cynthia and I had met for our annual day at “The Wood” — DollyWood that is.  And boy was it ever packed.  The week of the Fourth of July had brought travelers and tourists and locals alike.

Between us we had a crew of six kids.  Five boys and a girl.  Six sun-kissed heads to count.

images-3We sat beside of a large dancing fountain, swirls of water drowning out the sound of six little mouths wolfing down veggie straws and PB&Js.   Afterwards, we tossed our trash and headed towards our next adventure – DareDevil Falls.  Along the walk, we passed through sweet smells of kettlekorn, funnel cakes, seared leather and all things Southern.  Vendors adorned the streets hosting Bald Eagle T-shirts and summer garden flags.

As we walked further still, quickly approaching our next ride, I scanned our crew for a silent count of six.

One, two, three, four, five.

Five. Kids.

“Cynthia, where’s James?”

James, her free-spirited, six-year-old who chases butterflies, catches fireflies and oozes boyhood wonder.

James, our headcount “number six”.

That James.

Cynthia, turned around and gave the surrounding area a quick glance.  She wasn’t frayed or full of fear.  She didn’t yelp or gasp. She simply turned.

“James-ey.” She called. “Where did brother go?” She asked of her two others.

“James-ey,” she called again.

Now me, on the other hand, was not feeling quite as calm.  My thoughts went to Dateline and Amber Alert and recalling how far we had walked since our sandwiches.

“James?”

Cynthia walked back towards the direction of our table, still as cool as a summer cucumber.

And sure enough, here comes James.  Running towards us in his bright yellow shirt.

“Where’d you go, buddy?  You stay with mommy, ok?”

He snuggled into her leg, “I was looking at the water swirling.”

The fountains beside our octagon table.

Cynthia looked at me with a grin, “You see now why he’s in a yellow shirt.”

I don’t know which consumed me more … the fact that for 90 seconds we were missing a child at a theme park OR my awestricken notice of Cynthia’s response to his disappearance.

“You amaze me, girl.”  I said.  “You didn’t even break a sweat.”

And without a moment’s hesitation she replied, “Trust and believe. Trust and believe.”

Her faith and peace and trust in the Lord came to fruition in those 90 seconds.  She didn’t react in fear.  She didn’t panic.  She didn’t scream his name.  She trusted in the Lord. And believed His promises.

This peace wasn’t even an effort on her part.   She practices peace.  She lives it.  This trust and belief was an overflow of faith residing in  her soul.

The rubber of her faith met the road in that moment. I saw it.  And it was beautiful.

“I’ve always been like that.” She said. “Now, I struggle in other ways, don’t get me wrong, but things like that don’t upset me. Maybe they should.” She chuckled.

I won’t call for a show of hands asking who else would have been FREAKING OUT, but I am assuming some of you would have been more like me — running around like a mad woman screaming, “JAMES!!!!!!!!  I’ve lost my kid!  JAMES!!!!!”

But not Cynthia.

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.  John 14:27

I saw this verse in action on Tuesday.  That Cynthia took this gift of peace that Jesus gave to her, tucked it under her arm and ran hard to Dollywood.  Receiving it fully as her own.  She was not troubled.  She was not afraid.  She was at peace – trusting and believing.

What would my life look like if I embraced Jesus’ gift of peace a little harder?  What areas am I troubled today?  What areas am I in fear?

What if I made an exchange this morning?  Trading my anxiety for peace of mind and heart.

When marriage is hard…. peace of mind and heart.

When the doctor’s report looks grim… peace of mind and heart.

When a friend hurts you….peace of mind and heart.

When bills are too big….peace of mind and heart.

When your business seems to fail…peace of mind and heart.

Trust and believe.

This gift is yours for the taking. Tuck it under your arm and run hard. Pack it in your lunch box.  Load it in your car.  Peace.

And just like James came running around that corner, your yellow shirt is around the bend, too.  Like the bright morning sun, God’s mercy is new everyday.  

Great is his faithfulness;  his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23

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