At 4 a.m. I heard an all-too-familiar sound: two small feet sliding off their bed, thunking on the floor, and running to my bedroom. Mark hurried, barely awake, to my side of the bed. He mumbled something about a nightmare that I couldn’t quite make out, but it didn’t matter to me why he had come. He needed me, that was all. So I lifted the covers and whispered to him to crawl in. He snuggled up and was asleep in seconds.
This has been my life for the past seventeen years and some things still surprise me. Like how fast I wake up, for instance. It must be the moment those feet hit the floor. And I can always tell by the weight of the steps (and sometimes a panicky whimper) just who the child is. It also amazes me how the kids know exactly where to go, even half asleep. You’re probably thinking, Well, that’s not so impressive… But you haven’t seen my bedroom floor. It’s the catch-all for every toy, shoe, and scrap of laundry our entire family possesses. The kids can’t pick it up during the day, but they can navigate it with their eyes shut apparently. (Nathanael and I should be so lucky.) Thirdly, I’m impressed with how quickly they fall back asleep. They know if I tell them it’s okay, then it really is. That’s enough for them to rest peacefully once more. I wish it were so easy for me to get back to sleep. If you ever stop by my house in the middle of the day, and see me passed out and drooling on my couch, this is the reason why. It’s hard to sleep when your never really turn completely off, and once someone wakes me up it can take hours to fall back asleep.
This morning, while Mark snored obliviously next to me, I thought how well this applies to the life of a child of God. There are all kinds of bad things in life that nearly scare us senseless. Things that trouble, worry, anger, stress us. Things that pull us abruptly out of peaceful rest. When that happens, the first place we should go is straight to God. It should be as natural as breathing, something we do without even thinking. Any obstacle should be kicked aside, stepped over, or completely ignored as we get where we need to go. Our “path” to God should be well-worn and familiar from the many times we go to Him. We can go in confidence, knowing this: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18) He knows each of us and is waiting for us to come to Him.
Once we get there, it’s safe to turn everything over. He tells us, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) He’s more than capable of hearing us and delivering us, whatever our concerns may be. I sometimes worry that my concerns and prayers are too small. I feel like praying for the “big” things is legitimate and worthy, but I don’t want to bother Him with the trivial things of my life. But He doesn’t put those limitations on us, He just tells us to come. “As a father shows compassion to children, so the LORD has compassion on all those who fear [respect] Him.” (Psalm 103:13) I wouldn’t turn my children away because their fears are small in my eyes. God will not turn us away either.
It’s no mystery to us how Mark can fall back asleep so quickly once he is tucked in between me and Nathanael. But that complete rest is available to each of us as well. Not just the night time sleep I desperately crave, but real, lasting, spiritual rest. The kind that comes from knowing our Father is in control of everything that happens in this world, and He can handle anything we throw His way. And the great thing is, God – Who never slumbers or sleeps – is always there. He won’t be off-duty sometime later in day, or napping on the couch at 10 in the morning…unlike someone else I know.