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The Zoo

by Krissy Hanna

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 
Philippians 4:6-7

I have been blessed with incredibly loving and caring in-laws. 

My 81 year old mother- in-law came to visit over the Christmas holidays this year; we were so excited to have her in our home. Mike’s father died in August, so It was her first Christmas without him. Ron suffered from Alzheimer’s and it’s been many years since Peggy has been able to travel. 

While she was visiting, we made plans to meet some friends at Zoo Lights. (We go nearly every year.) We thought that Peggy would enjoy getting out, meeting a few of our friends, and experiencing a little holiday cheer. But as soon as we told her about the event, she began to worry. 

She wasn’t sure what coat to wear. She worried that she might get too cold. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to walk that far. She didn’t know how to get there. She wasn’t sure when she was going to eat. She didn’t know what to expect, and she felt completely out of control. Mike had already solved these problems for her, and we kept reassuring her over and over, but it didn’t seem to help.

On our way there, she got out her phone attempting to find directions to the zoo. Did I know we might be late? Was I sure where to turn? Was I aware of the possible traffic on I-25? 

I can remember saying, 

“Peggy, do not worry. We’ve got this all under control. We’ve been to the zoo a hundred times.”

I wonder how many times that God has said that to me.

She was nearly frantic trying so hard to control all of the things. 
Just like I do. 

Mike and I longed for her to sit back, enjoy the car ride, the family, and the zoo. We know her well. We know what she likes. We know what she needs. We know where to stop and rest. We know where to eat. We know where the bathrooms are. We know where all the warm indoor buildings are located. We’ve been there. We know.

We told her this, and yet she still felt anxious. 

People often say that anxiety doesn’t help anything. I disagree. If we allow it, deep worry can drive us to the heart of God. It reminds us to search the Scriptures and present our requests to him. It reminds us that he is in charge, and we are not. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us, in the midst of the mess, to be thankful. Our feelings might be intense, but we can still know peace in the midst of the struggle.

All things are under his control.  In every single situation, under every possible condition, we can trust him. He knows the plan. Every plan. 

He’s been to the zoo at least a hundred times.