Tonight I sat on the side of the bed, running my hands over a slept-in ponytail barely holding her mass of hair away from fevered cheeks.
She had asked me to stay; to not leave her alone.
“I’m scared here alone,” she had pleaded. “Won’t you just sit with me for awhile?”
I remembered so clearly from my own childhood a time when I wanted my mother to stay with me. Frightened and cold in my little yellow bedroom, I saw things that left me white-knuckled and certain that morning would not find me. Having her near felt like salvation.
Mothers don’t want their children to feel afraid. We don’t want their minds to be overtaken by nightmares or their eyes to flutter in sleeplessness.
Even though we know there is no danger lurking or monster under the bed, we also know that sometimes our words are not enough. Sometimes presence is everything and the only thing.
So I created a nest in the covers and joined her in the twilight. I felt the warmth of her body as she curled around me, drawing close and breathing deeply while Sara Groves whispered lullabies from the radio.
It made me think of how our Father must consider us when we come to him afraid.
We creep close to the throne with tears and begging.
“I’m scared here and feel so alone,” we cry. “Please, God — be real to me. I need to know you’re here.”
Have you ever prayed that prayer?
I imagine our Father standing outside our bedroom door, knowing the whole story; holding bits and pieces of each chapter in his hands. He must be asking:
“Child, do you trust me? Do you trust me to protect you? To be your rear-guard?”
And yet, in his great love and tender mercy, he steps through the darkness and sits next to us. He smooths our matted hair and wipes away salty tears of doubt. He extends patience in our fretting.
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…” Isaiah 66:13
“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
Tonight while snow swirled on the other side of our window pane, these few quiet moments with my daughter gave me a glimpse into the love that God the Father has for us.
For me, His daughter.
For you, His son.
What an indescribable gift, that our God draws near to us though we deserve it not. That, as a Parent, he comes to us — sick and feeble though we are — and showers us with comfort and help in our time of need.