Title: Alone in the dark
By Randall Vaughn
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deu 31:8 NIV)
That Scripture says that God will never leave us, and that is true, but how does it apply to our lives today?
What about the times when we are in such deep emotional turmoil and pain and the times when we feel so utterly alone? Is He really there during those times?
In a "father lesson" recently, I had an insight into that aspect of my relationship with God. In an experience with my son, I gained a new perspective on my relationship with God and a very graphic illustration of His presence and protection, even when I didn't perceive it.
My eight year old son had gone to bed around 8:30. By 10:30, I had finished some things I was working on (an E-MIN message!), and felt that I needed to get outside and walk. I had a "lot on my mind" and walking helps me relax. I live on a dead end street, so I felt safe in walking outside while he was asleep inside because he almost never wakes during the night.
I made the "circle" to the end of the street a few times, then came back and sat down on the back steps. I was outside about 30 minutes.
During my walk, I thought I saw a basement light come on, but when I looked again, it was off, so I disregarded it. I also saw the front porch lights come on a couple of times, but it was windy that evening, so I didn't think any more about that either. (I have the front lights on a motion sensor and the movement of the shrubs in the wind can cause it to come on.)
While sitting on the back steps, I heard the back door open. I was surprised! I looked up. I saw his head peek out the door. He was dressed! I was surprised that he was even awake, much less that he was dressed. I motioned for him to come to me.
He ran down the steps, grabbed me in a tight hug, and held on! He was crying.
I asked him what was wrong.
He replied, "I woke up and looked for you, but I couldn't find you. You weren't downstairs. I looked outside and you weren't there. Daddy, I was so afraid. I thought you had gone away somewhere. I was so afraid." He just clung to me, tightly, and cried.
He explained how he had looked and looked, and couldn't find me. He looked downstairs (the basement light I thought I saw come on). He looked outside and couldn't find me (the opening of the front door triggered the front lights). He said he would look, then listen, then wait again. Finally, he explained how he decided to get dressed to go outside to look for me.
I held him, comforted him, let him cry and express himself, and assured him that all was well. I explained that I had just taken a walk outside, and had not left him at all. He continued to hold on tight. I held him, for the longest time, and then we went inside together, talked a little while, and I put him back to bed.
I promised him that I would never leave him alone. I told him that if he ever woke again at night and couldn't find me right away, don't be afraid. I would be somewhere near. I continued to assure him that I would never leave him.
He went back to sleep with a new sense of security. He now knew that, even if he couldn't find Dad right way, Dad was there because He had promised. Dad had promised never to leave him alone.
My son trusts me. That is such an awesome and wonderful thing to know that a little life trusts you without question. If I make a promise to him, I make sure that I fulfill it, regardless of what it takes. I would never betray that trust.
After putting him back to bed, I thought of my relationship with my Father. How many times had I become fearful and afraid because I could not "see" Him at the moment? How many times had I panicked because I thought I was alone?
I thought about times I had called for Him and I couldn't "hear" Him answer. I thought about times I had looked for Him and I couldn't "find" Him. I thought about times I wanted to know He was there and I couldn't "feel" Him. How many times had I felt as though I was utterly and completely alone!
He couldn't see me, but I was there. He couldn't hear me, but I had not left Him. He felt alone, but I was there, knowing that he was safe and secure. Nothing would get to him without going through me first, even though he didn't know that at the moment. I was just right outside. Just outside his present level of perception. Just outside his line of vision. Just outside his range of hearing. But I was there. I had been there all along. I had not left him. I would never leave him. I am his father.
Now, because of that experience, he knows that he is safe, even if he cannot see me at the moment. He knows that if he wakes at night and cannot find me, he shouldn't panic. He should just wait. I am there. I will always be there. All is well. Dad promised.
When it is "dark" in your life, and you feel afraid, feel as though you are alone, feel as though God is nowhere to be found, I encourage you to trust Him. He is there. Even if you cannot "see" Him, "feel" Him, or "hear" Him, He is there. He will not fail you. He will not leave you. He will not abandon you.
Nothing will get to you, unless it goes through Him first. He would never leave you alone. He promised. He is your Father.
And if you wake in the "dark", trust, with confident assurance, that He is there.
"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." (Psa 30:5)
The "dark" will not last forever. After every dark night, there comes a new morning. It will come. Father promised.
G. Randall Vaughn