When it rains in the afternoon, my 4-year-old always knows exactly where I am. She stands a few feet away at the window with her siblings, their faces smushed against the glass watching the rain blow sideways outside. They watch in sheer awe at the power of the storm. They ooooh and ahhhh at the thunder and lightening– until it cracks on the street right in front of our house.
Before I can blink, my daughter becomes a scarf– her arms and legs somehow both wrapped around my neck as I lounge on the sofa and laugh.
She knows the storm is still raging just feet away on the other side of that window, but she also knows that she is safe in her daddy’s arms. Such is the case with all daytime thunder storms.
But when a storm breaks out in the middle of the night and the claps of thunder wake her, it’s a different story.
Our bedrooms are only separated by a 3-foot hallway, and yet when thunder breaks in the middle of the night, you can just about bet that it will be followed by a small, squeaky voice yelling across the hall.
“Daaaaddddddyyyyy?! Daddy, where are you?!”
I usually flip on the light and see Tenley’s little silhouette standing just feet away in her bedroom door– paralyzed by fear.
Fear of the dark, the noise, the unexpected wake-up call.
In these moments in the middle of the night, she rarely runs to me. Instead, she stands in her doorway, in her sister’s too-big nightgown, with tears running down her face and her arms outstretched for me.
“Come here. You’re okay. You’re safe with me.” I groggily beckon her forward with my hands. In an instant, she’s my scarf again– arms and legs entangled with mine as I hug her and wipe away her tears.
She knows she’s safe in her father’s arms.
Wednesday evening I sat in the rocking chair on my front porch and watched lightning spread over Denver. As I watched the light show and felt the thunder in my chest, I thought back to the metaphor of Tenley and Chris and mentally cataloged all the times throughout this incredibly rainy month that fear has stopped me dead in my tracks.
Like Tenley, I’ve allowed myself to be paralyzed by fear too many times lately. I’ve stopped, just feet away from my Heavenly Father with tears streaming down my face and my arms slightly outstretched, yet feeling incapable of running to my safe place.
I’ve never really been one to struggle with fear, but over the last month there have been days where my fears have consumed me.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of change and the unknown.
Fear of the darkness.
Fear of jumping into things too quickly.
Fear of not moving quickly enough and missing the boat on opportunities.
Fear of catching a bad case of revertigo and getting sucked back into less than Christ-like habits from my past.
Irrational fears and completely rational fears.
We’ve all got them– these fears that seem to cement our feet to the floor and keep us from running to God when the storm gets too crazy or too close for comfort.
These fears, if we let them, will leave us feeling just out of the reach of our Heavenly Father.
They will lead us to doubt His sovereignty and goodness. They will become a breeding ground for lies from the enemy– lies that seem to tell us that God doesn’t love us because He’s not “actively” rescuing us from our fears.
But I believe that He doesn’t rescue us all the time because He wants us to run through the fear, into His arms.
He wants us to run to Him through the storm– both in the daylight and in the darkness.
I get it. It’s terrifying and counter-intuitive to quiet yourself before God in the midst of a life-hurricane and submit our fears to Him. I would much rather over-process things to death and try to find a logical solution to my problems than pray and listen, but that is what we are called to do.
That is where we will find safety in our Father’s arms.
What is your reaction when the lightening strikes?
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”