Last night, I was awakened suddenly by Emerald’s terrified screams. There was a desperation in her voice, a panicked edge to her cries. She was calling for me.
Heart pounding, I raced down the hall to her room, and found her sitting up in her bed, her wide eyes fixed on some unknown terror in the room, one hand lifted, pointing at it eerily. I agreed with her that in the light of her new nightlight the room did look strange and scary, and although I know she was only pointing to a shadow, it took me some time to get over having been awakened in this way, rushing to a creepy-looking scene that was playing out in my baby’s room.
In an almost unheard-of move, I carried the clinging three year old back to my room and put her in bed with me. For a few minutes she wrapped her arms around my neck and told me over and over that she loves me. Then she fell asleep.
For the next hour or two Chad and I struggled to rest with the kicking, flopping, sighing, squirming little sleeper in our bed. And, finally, I picked her up in all her sleepiness and carried her back to the formerly terrifying bedroom. Only this time, when I walked in it didn’t look scary. All I saw were the friendly shadows of her toys, and she happily settled back into her little bed and fell into a deep sleep.
It was the same room. It was still just as dark as before. All of the same dolls and furniture were in there. It was still just as much the lonely middle of the night. But, somehow, on the return trip, Emerald’s room seemed like the safest, friendliest place on Earth for sleeping.
What was the difference?
My attitude had changed. The first time I went in there I was expecting something terrible. I was scared and worried and was running to try and fix the problem. But, the second time, I was calm. I felt certain that everything was going to be okay. And I knew that Emerald going back into the once scary room was the best thing for all of us. Emerald would rest better, and so would we.
The same is true of our faith in Christ. Our attitude toward our situation makes all the difference. We can walk around afraid, worried to death about what is happening in the world. We can get all tied up in knots over the Duggars and the president and the state of the church in America. We can send our kids to school feeling terrified about their futures. We can let every tidbit on the internet disturb us. The world begins to looks gigantic and scary, with looming shadows around every corner. We begin to trust God less. We begin to fret over what He does or doesn’t seem to be doing.
But, if we look around at this broken world and we resist the urge to let it frighten us, if we stand instead on our faith in God’s sovereign will and His perfect timing, if we really do believe that He is in control and He works things out according to His good purposes, then the shadows that once had us paralyzed in fear will seem a little less daunting. We will remember that the best thing is for us to rest in His peace and His goodness. And, we will be able to.
With His help.
Once I put the sleep-kicking beauty back in her own bed, she slept for the rest of the night without incident. And, tonight, we decided to forgo the nightlight. She settled into the dark peacefully, believing me when I said that all was well. And, when I looked around her room one last time before walking out, all I saw were friendly shadows.