Just about every night last week we had wild thunderstorms here in Atlanta, and I had trouble sleeping because I was nervous and on edge because of them.
I’ve always been anxious about storms. When I was growing up, my bed was up against the wall between my room and my parents’ room, and my dad and I had a signal that I could knock on the wall to get his attention. Sometimes we used it to be goofy and “communicate” with each other, but more often it was used as an SOS when thunder woke me up in the night or when I had a bad dream. My sweet daddy would diligently come to my rescue, and either let me sleep in their bed or reassure me that I’d be okay. But if he didn’t come quickly enough by my standards, I would leap out of bed and race down the hall into their room, fear dogging me all the way. When the forecast called for storms, he came to expect that he would hear the pitter patter of my feet coming his way. Either way, it was such a comfort to know that just on the other side of a wall was my safe place, my protector.
Because I’ve always had such a strong relationship with my dad, and felt so loved and cared for by him, I often struggle with the attribute of God as the Father. A lot of people take refuge in Him because they’ve lacked a father figure and crave that…but I have a daddy! In fact, I have to say I’ve got the best dad ever (though I’m probably biased). But I found myself thinking about the fatherly characteristics of God last week when I was weathering the storms alone and missing that sense of being protected.
I can’t say it’s true for me that a short prayer to God for comfort immediately made things better, but it’s definitely biblical to seek shelter in God during times of strife, weather included. (See: 2 Samuel. See: Psalms etc.) It would easy to say that it’s so comforting to know that God is just a figurative wall-width away and He makes me feel safe all the time, but that would be an untruth. Most of the time I don’t feel nearly as close to God as I do to my dad.
I read the portions of the Psalms where David is taking refuge in the Lord with great skepticism that he found discernible refuge in God. It’s sometimes a struggle for me to bring this ethereal being (God) and insert Him into my everyday reality. He does not always respond to knocks on the wall immediately, and even when He does it’s not often in ways that we can readily understand. But I guess rather than feel like I don’t need God to be my daddy, I should feel like I know exactly what He has to offer, because I’ve had it displayed to me through my dad my whole life.
So I try to choose faith. I try to remember to knock, even when it seems like no one is on the other side. And if I really need to, I can leap out of bed, and I can run to Someone, because He’s anticipating the pitter patter of my little feet.