It's the early hours of the morning and I lie in bed awake, unable to find peace or sleep, listening to the soft sounds of my sleeping family. Bedroom doors are open and my little ones are but a few feet away, audible, peaceful, sleeping. I get up to look at my three, and they are as I knew they would be: safe, protected, beautiful; little chests rising and falling in gentle rhythm.
Coming back into our room, I walk to the window and look up and down the street. Who am I watching out for? Why is my heart afraid? As I’m looking, something unusual happens and the street lights all go out in the same instant. There is darkness. I can no longer see the familiar and safe front porches of our friends and neighbours. I’m surrounded by people and yet in the blackness of this city night, I feel alone and afraid.
My mind returns to a moment earlier today as the kids and I were leaving the house. Ella was in my arms and Jake was walking ahead as we made our way down the porch steps and around the side walkway to the parking spot behind our home. Joshua, who had paused to look at the coiled water hose on the side of the house, found himself a few steps behind us. As two-year-olds often do, he called out: “Wait for me, Mom. Don’t leave me!” I was right there. In his sight. Only steps away. More than this, I’ve never once left him behind. I said to him what I often say to my tiny people in their moments of childlike alarm: “Has Mommy ever forgotten you, Joshua? I will never leave you behind.”
I’m still standing at my window, fearful, looking out at the dark night and I realize that I am Joshua: afraid, but with no reason to fear.
Father, You have done such good for me every day of my life. Your love for me has been perfect and unfailing in every way. Your care has known no bounds; your goodness and grace no end. Even in these past days, I have felt you gather my family, my church, in the shadow of Your wings, caring for us, preserving us, loving us. And still I doubt you. Still I call out in fear again and again: “God, don’t leave me.”
His answer, in love, again and again:
Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:39
His answer to me so very much like my words to Joshua:
Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you. ~ Hebrews 13:5
I flip through the pages of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening until I find the words I read just yesterday:
"Seeing that we have such a God to trust, let us rest upon Him with all our weight; let us resolutely drive out all unbelief and endeavor to get rid of doubts and fears, which spoil our comfort, since there is no excuse for fear when God is the foundation of our trust. A loving parent would be sorely grieved if his child could not trust him; and how ungenerous, how unkind is our conduct when we put so little confidence in our heavenly Father, who has never failed us and who never will."