It was 4am when my son’s little hand rapped loudly on our bedroom door.
The “shave-and-a-haircut, two bits” pattern I taught him echoed through the caverns of my subconscious mind, dragging me up from a deep, clear sleep into the groggy fog of a much-too-early morning.
“Come in” I moaned, loud enough for him to hear through the white wood, but hopefully soft enough to not wake my still-sleeping wife. Lucky her.
“Daddy,” he said with the adorable pleading tone of a seven year old boy, “I had nightmares. Can I sleep in your bed?”
Now, for some people this request might be a no-brainer, but for us it’s a problem. You see, my son is not a stationary sleeper. Like a fish out of water or a presidential candidate, he flips and flops and shifts positions all over the place; not exactly the kind of bedmate that is conducive to quality R.E.M.
I knew, too, that not only did I need to sleep, but more importantly, my wife would be waking up early for a long day at work, so she needed as much rest as she could get.
The answer was clear.
“No, son, you can’t sleep in our bed tonight… but I’d be happy to come stay with you in yours.”
After a quick trip to the bathroom, we padded our way quietly back through the dim blue landscape of the night-lighted apartment, grateful that all the Legos had been picked up before bed and weren’t waiting for us like foot-stabbing landmines. He climbed up to his wooden bunk bed, and I slowly and carefully made my way after him, up the creaky ladder and under the “Star Wars” sheet and comforter.
I knew that for him, being in his room alone would have been difficult, because for this moment it was associated with his nightmares instead of a good night’s rest. So, nestling close to my son, I settled in for a sleepless hour that I knew would be well worth the sacrifice.
My little boy needed me in his season of fear, and it was my joy to be by his side.
Did you know that’s how your heavenly Father feels about you?
Speaking to the worries and anxieties of the people of His day, Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) Sometimes we think of the “Kingdom of God” as only a future destination, but Jesus taught that it’s also a present experience of God’s presence and power on earth.
What does that mean for you?
It means that wherever you’re afraid today, God wants to speak words of courage to you, because He’s with you.
It means that wherever you’re in turmoil today, God wants to speak words of calm to you, because He’s with you.
It means that wherever you’re anxious today, God wants to speak words of peace to you, because He’s with you.
“Don’t be afraid, little child,” He wants to say to you. “It’s my joy to be by your side.”
Will you listen?