“Momma, I’m scay-oed.” The little blondie (who is still having a little problem with her “r”s) is standing beside the bed in the dark of the early morning, her face lit up momentarily by another flash of lightning from the stormy sky outside. It is only February and the thunderstorm is not a normal occurrence, but she is not concerned with any theories about what has brought the springtime phenomenon this early in the year. Her only necessity at this moment is the shelter of her mother’s and father’s bed, and she will not be denied.
The little sweetheart’s Mom reports that at the first crash of thunder moments earlier, she heard the footsteps heading for their room. Thump-thump-thump-thump. They weren’t moving slowly, either. Brothers and sister slept through the ruckus, but this little one doesn’t like sounds that she can neither identify nor silence. Railroad train whistles were once the impetus for these moonlight visits to her parent’s bed, but she has learned to tolerate that nightly racket. This new terror in the night may take longer to conquer.
I know just how the little girl feels. Not just because I also stood beside my parent’s bed on many such occasions as a child, but because I still know the fear in the dark. Oh, I’m not afraid of the dark of night, nor even of the occasional thunderstorm. Those, I have learned to respect and come to know well. The dark I fear is the dark of unfamiliarity and the storms I fear are the storms of everyday life. Give me the known, the mundane routine of a well-beaten path, and I’m just fine. Tell me that I must deviate from the routine and step out into the unexplored darkness and I am in a tizzy of emotional distress within moments.
I know that it is not the kind of thing that a man should admit to publicly. Strength and a sense of adventure. These are the things we admire in our heroes. Push out into the unknown! Full speed ahead and…well, you get the point. That is what we expect of a manly man. I am confessing tonight that I am not always such a man. Oh, I’ll try new things with the proper amount of coaxing and wheedling. If my children or grandchildren try it first, then I’ll do it. And, truth be told, I will push ahead to do things never attempted before in any number of situations, simply because they must be done. But, don’t for a moment think that I’m not screaming inside, “I’m scay-oed!” as I do them. Many times, I say goodbye to the Lovely Lady as I head to an unfamiliar situation or place, asking her as I give her one last hug, “You know that I really, really don’t want to do this, don’t you?” With her reassurance in my ears, I square my shoulders and go out bravely (or not) to face the unconquered fear. It is what we do as adults. That doesn’t make it easy.
How about it? Is it dark in front of you? Are you facing uncharted territory? I know of one lady who is just entering a new era in her life when she has no parents to lean on, or to talk to when the way gets rough. It is not a road she is joyfully anticipating, but regardless, she is taking her first uncertain steps along the course. Others face a financial desert or the storm of physical infirmity. The very real darkness of blindness is in front of some, while the disaster of divorce slams violently against others. We all have our fears in the night. And indeed, we have been given great strength and resourcefulness from deep within, but we need more.
You will know where your own source of strength is, but for me, I am assured that there is One who stands firm and resolute, right beside each of us. I find proof in His Word. When the question is asked, “What shall separate us from His love? Trouble? Hardship? Persecution? Famine? Danger?”, the answer comes without equivocation. “No. Through all these, we are more than conquerors through Him.” It doesn’t leave much room for argument, does it? In the dark of our blackest night, through the most violent storms of life, we have an Anchor that keeps our souls, not only safe, but victorious.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t need people too. When we are small, we run immediately into the arms (and beds) of our parents at the first sign of danger. As adults, we still have need of spouses, friends, and family members (including parents, sometimes) to hold us close and encourage us in our time of fear. It is how we were designed, both to give such support, and to receive the same. We must not only see the needs of those we love and offer them our encouragement, but we should recognize our own weakness and seek help when necessary.
When the thunder rolls, and the lightning crashes, there is a place of safety. I hope your feet will carry you just as surely and quickly to that place as the little feet of that sweet little blondie.
A little child shall lead them.
“…out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.”
(from “Henry IV” by William Shakespeare~English poet/playwright~1564-1616
“We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll.
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.”
(“We Have An Anchor”~ Priscilla Owens~American teacher/hymn writer~1829-1907)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.