Growing up with three other siblings in a small house, my sister and I had to share a bedroom. She, a person of excellent sleeping skills, always conked out faster than me, leaving me no one to talk to. As she slept in the other twin bed, I took seriously my role as big sister to stay up late as the night watchman. My nine-year old over-stimulated imagination would tune my ears into the nightly reverberations. Was that patter-patter sound the dog walking outside my bedroom door or was that a light-footed burglar? Did I just hear a skitty-skatch sound of a large rat in my closet? Was that gentle tap against the window a tree branch, a marauding neighborhood cat or the escaped convict who would first enter our house by my bedroom window? Growing up in a small suburban town, one rarely found wandering criminals ready to smash a window pane in order to find safe haven, but it could happen. I studied any of these noises to alert me of impending danger. I figured the best was to fool an intruder or rodent would be to pretend the Sandman had visited and feign sleep.
That year a kind Sunday school teacher had told me that when we are afraid we should pray and our fears would disappear. I didn’t really understand who God was and how He operated but I thought I’d try it. I’d scrunch up my eyes and whisper a prayer to Him, hoping the evil noises wouldn’t evesdrop. To this young girl’s relief, He always showed up and I could close my eyes and settle back into my pillow. Somehow I knew I’d be watched and taken care of until the morning sun peeked through our pink floral curtains.
My wide-awake fright made me want to understand God. What is He really like? What does he want from me? Is He really paying attention to me? Oh, how could he bother…He’s busy directing angels to save people from car wrecks and babies from falling out of high chairs. My uneventful life couldn’t possibly interest Him. Why would He care about my fight with my brother over watching Beverly Hillbillies or the Giant’s baseball game? Did He notice when I slugged my brother to get control of the television or when I ran to my friend’s backyard to play Freeze Tag when I was supposed to be doing dinner dishes? Was He proud of me when my teacher showcased my picture of a red-winged blackbird to my class to demonstrate how to paint a bird? My boring life couldn’t possibly interest the God of the Universe. He, the Grand Mystery, had planets to keep in order and world peace to protect.
As I’ve moved decades beyond third grade, I’ve learned how easily I can access the creator of my soul. No longer a mystery, He’s very real. He comes in the person of Jesus. When we first approach God the wall between us is solid concrete. We can’t really see Him…He’s still a kindly shadow who can scare away things that go bump in the night. But, as I learned to know the person of Jesus, I had a real handle on God’s character. He wasn’t a fuzzy power I’d beckon to help me out of a jam or to send a “sorry” message. The Jesus I read about wore human skin and cut his chin when shaving. He experienced hunger and loneliness and knew we had an enemy who wants to trip us up our entire life. He walked among us and saw our frailties. When at sixteen, my blinders came off and I had the “ahh haa” moment, I saw God in clear focus, just like a new prescription for my glasses.
A moment of reckoning can come any time in our life. But we have to make it happen. What amazed me was how simple it was to connect with God. What had been a mile high concrete wall to God, something I’d never be able to climb, shrank to the high of a piece of string when Jesus stepped over. I just had to take the first step. He did the rest.
Jesus is speaking here, maybe to you, when He says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (From the Bible, the book of Revelations, Chapter 3, verse 20).
What are you afraid of? Has God helped you in any certain ways? Please share!