Listen to the Father
By Claire Scott, 6th February 2020.
Our middle daughter has a beautiful and active imagination. Give that girl a role-play corner, a princess dress up outfit and some plastic character toys and she will happily keep herself amused for ages. Creating stories, applying her everyday experiences and muttering away about (what often sounds like to me!) gobbledigook. The flip side of this full and lively imagination is that she often gets nightmares. She will wake up in a state of panic, tearful and in that confusing state of semi-awake/semi-asleep. On going into her room, if we try and soothe her by having a conversation about what’s wrong or asking her about her nightmare, she usually just continues to cry or totally ignores what’s been said. Words and talking are not what she needs in that moment of fear and panic. What she needs is reassurance by being together.
In that moment, words don’t cut it for her. But if I lay my head on her chest, stroke her hair and sing a worship song….calm and restful sleep returns. As I start to sing the truths of who Jesus is, her heart rate slows again and relaxed breathing rhythms replace the panic stricken fast paced gulps. The reassurance of a mama’s voice is a powerful thing. The truths of Jesus more powerful still.
Father God is so much more perfect in the parenting department than I am. I can be grumpy about having to get out of my warm bed, inconvenienced about having to pause the TV programme I was watching or conflicted about whether this is actually a real need or a 3 year old power struggle. My parenting is often weak, imperfect and flawed. The love of the Father is strong, perfect and just. He is never inconvenienced, disgruntled or “over” having the same conversation. His invitation is always the same: come. Come when you’re afraid, panic stricken and need the comfort of the Father. Come when it’s the same thing bothering you. Come when your eyes are wildly looking around for the light in the darkness of a room. Come when your thoughts are running on overdrive. We don’t need to wonder whether He’s going to show up or not, whether he’s going to hear our cries.
The Bible is a story of God’s faithfulness from beginning to end. It’s a story of God hearing his people cry for help, often needing to be rescued from their own wrongdoing when it’s caught up with them. It’s a story of God’s rescuing again, again and again. He never stays away. He doesn’t always remove the problem straight away, but in His sovereignty, He works in it. This heart of God is the same today, 6th February 2020. He transforms cold hearts, redeems nations and brings His people to their knees in dependence and worship. In Psalm 91:4, King David writes that God’s promise to His people when they cry out to Him is that He will cover them with his feathers, like a mother hen covers her chicks. He will provide protection and defence through the faithfulness that He has shown through His word and promises.
When we are afraid, our job isn’t to “man up”, or just shut our thoughts down, but to come to God. Actively SPEAK out the name of Jesus. There is power in it. It shifts a troubled heart and turns eyes towards the One who holds all things in the palm of His hand. This doesn’t always happen straight away, it takes practice, but keep doing it. When the fear rises up, we don’t have to worry that God won’t come or maybe this is the time He won’t be faithful – He is always faithful, always there. It’s US who have to move. From a place of independence to trust.
When our daughter went through a really bad patch of sleep last year and we had tried everything under the sun to help with her nightmares and waking, we would often just sit with her and sing. There was nothing else we could do. But that was the most important thing to do as there is power in worship. When we sing out the truths of God’s word our innermost being is reminded of God’s mighty hand.
God is a Creator. He loves colour, imagination and fun so it makes sense that our imaginations are made for good and for His glory, but living in a broken world they can often let us down. Like our daughter, they can be used as a tool for fear when we are in a place of great vulnerability like being asleep. But what if we asked God to redeem our imaginations? To allow His Spirit to use them to picture Jesus with us, tangibly sitting/walking/standing with us in our day by day lives. Whether we are in a place of fear or freedom, that is a powerful use for an imagination! Jesus sitting next to me when I’m eating my lunch, walking with me down the road, or sitting at the end of my bed when I’m going to sleep. When our daughter is afraid, we can remind her that Jesus is tangibly with her in her room – He will never leave or forsake her. He won’t grow tired and go back to bed, like I will.
But we have to come into His presence. By speaking the name of Jesus, singing worship, declaring the truths of God’s word and engaging our imaginations with the character of God. Like a mama comforting her young son or daughter when he/she has had a bad dream, God – our perfect Heavenly Father – will comfort us.