Paralyzed by Fear

By Caleb Keith

Last Thursday, my beautiful daughter Esther Lily Joy Keith was born. My wife and I were blessed with a quick and easy labor and a very healthy daughter. However, what followed the relatively easy birth was an uncomfortable 48 hours in the hospital watching my wife and daughter get poked and prodded by nurses and doctors. Every test came back absolutely perfect, and after 24hours, my wife’s OBGYN was prepared to discharge her so we could go home to rest and be a family. Unfortunately, she was not authorized to discharge my daughter, and the hospital pediatrician wouldn’t let us go despite Esther’s lack of complications or health issues. When my wife Erika and I finally got home, we could breathe, and my baby girl was finally able to rest without being tested every two hours.

Today, Erika and I took Esther to her first doctor’s appointment. That appointment was essentially two hours of questioning steeped in sheer fear. Most of these concerns were not about direct health problems with my daughter, but with the probability or possibility of hundreds of dangers. The majority of these questions were absurd, “Will anybody who smokes every come in contact with this baby? Do you own a firearm? Will you let anybody hold her who isn’t completely up to date on their vaccines?” These three questions only begin to scratch the surface. Five minutes in, I began to question how any babies before this point in time ever survived. Above all, what I realized is that we live in a society paralyzed by fear.

As a new parent, I am already scared enough about the things I might do wrong or neglect to do. The last thing I want is another 200 things on my list of worries. I love my daughter, and I want nothing but the best for her, but I am not going to give all of my family and friends the 5th degree about their own vaccinations. This is not because I don’t care about my daughter’s health but because I refuse to live in a constant state of fear. I will not let the first days I spend with my daughter be defined or ruled by fear. How could I when the true fear of sin, death, and the devil has been erased by Christ’s death and resurrection? Esther, Erika, and I share in that gift through our Baptisms, and through faith we are saved and given new life. The new or sanctified life is not one of fear but is one of hope, joy, and grace. My goal as a father and a Christian in the world is to proclaim Christ for the forgiveness of sins by which all fear loses its true power. I will always care for the health needs of daughter and family, not out of fear, but in the joyous hope that I share in a long life with my daughter where our relationship is one empowered and freed by Christ. Thanks be to God for such amazing freedom.

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2 thoughts on “Paralyzed by Fear

  1. Dude, just wait for the helicopter parents at the park to make snarky comments and criticize you for letting your 2 year old play on the 5 year old play set. Wait for the mom dressed in a sparkling white dress to scold you for letting your children play in the mud. Wait for the Crunchy Mom’s to tell your wife she’s a terrible person because breast-feeding just wasn’t working out.

    Parents today, particularly white parents from the suburbs, are afraid of their own shadows. If you happen to relax for one minute and aren’t in constant fear of someone lurking around the corner just waiting to steal your child, someone is bound to call you a terrible parent. That’s why I actually like going to the park in the ghetto. At least I can let my kids play there without being judged.

    Just remember, Jesus said that the angels of children constantly behold the face of God, which implies that there are angels specifically tasked with watching over our children. I don’t worry too much about my kids, because I know that God loves them, and I believe that His angels protect them. If you’ve got that working for you, you can relax and not let paranoia grip your heart.

    French fries are okay on occasion. Eating dirt is good for the immune system. Modern medicine is a great plan B. Jesus loves children. God is sovereign. For goodness sake, let your children have some fun.

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