It was around 9:30 that night. The house was quiet as all the grandkids were safely in their own homes. I was working in my home office when I felt a “presence.” Before you think I’ve gone crazy, the “presence” wasn’t anything spooky; it was my fourteen year old grandson, John Luke. While his presence wasn’t spooky, he did look rather wide eyed and rough. At first this didn’t alarm me as he often runs barefoot around the neighborhood visiting us or other relatives…but still, a visit this late and the look on his face made my “grandma” antennas perk up. First, I reached up and gave him a big hug (never pass up that opportunity!) and then I asked, “What’s up?” As much as I wanted to think he just wanted to see me, I sensed there was more to this story.
With even wider eyes, he began to tell me that he was home alone when their tiny dog started barking and growling downstairs. Being upstairs… in his bedroom… alone… scared him. Apparently the more the little dog barked, the more frightened John Luke got. He quickly accessed the situation and found his only solution to be to climb out the bedroom window (let me remind you, upstairs bedroom), jump from the roof, and run next door to our house for safety. Trying not to be too panicky—teenage boys hate that—I resisted the urge to give him a list of other SAFER scenarios, like using the cell phone that is permanently attached to him to call us! Wisely, I would save that advice for later.
Doing what all grandmothers should do, I then suggested we wake up grandpa to help us find the supposed intruder. Reluctantly, 2 Papa got out of bed and off we went. When we opened the door, we found Max, the dog, enjoying his time alone in the house, running from room to room. Still, the search was on. We carefully checked each room, turning on the lights and looking behind the clothes in the closets. We searched under the beds and in the showers. We pulled back bedspreads and picked up furniture. Let me just say, the folks on CSI would have been proud of our efforts. But, this was our baby—fourteen is still a baby, isn’t it? Okay, not really, but we were not going to leave him alone again until we were sure he was safe. No way!
I can remember many incidences in my childhood when I was scared and the only person who could reassure me that all was well was my daddy. I can remember tiptoeing into my parent’s room late into the night to hear my dad’s soothing voice say, “Nothing is going to hurt you. I’m right here. You’re safe.”
As we get older and have children of our own, WE become the soothing voice. Does that mean we don’t get frightened anymore? Do children of our own take away our need for a comforting parent? Does age bring complete freedom from fear? I wish all of this were true. But, the reality is, the older we get, the list of “things” that can frighten us gets longer and scarier. Oh, to be four again where our fears came from a scary episode of Scooby Doo. Now our list includes sick children, job security, financial burdens, aging parents, wayward children…the list seems endless. We long to tiptoe in our daddy’s room for words of comfort.
I love the words of the Psalmist in Psalms 56:1. He spoke about his Father this way, “Take my side, God—I’m getting kicked around, stomped on every day. Not a day goes by but somebody beats me up; They make it their duty to beat me up. When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God. What can mere mortals do?”
These words are not just words of yesteryear, they are still active and alive for us today. God is as ready as any mom, dad, grandpa, or grandma to run to your side and search out all the bad, scary things in your life and stand beside you until you are no longer afraid. So, the next time the dog barks and growls, know that God is right beside you and know that mere mortals cannot touch what God protects.
Have a great week.