In the fourteen plus years we’ve been raising kids, we’ve had almost as many years of at least one child being terrified of the dark. Monsters, zombies, and anxiety live in the dark. Night lights, bathroom lamps, closet lights, doors open, doors closed. You name it, we’ve tried it.
But an interesting thing happens every night. Our youngest daughter, a precious curly-headed three-year-old with the sweetest voice you’ve ever heard, comes into our pitch-black room in the middle of the night to be with us. She walks in, muscle memory guiding her steps, and gets into the little bed we have set up for her beside ours.
“Daddy, will you cover me up?”
Almost immediately, she goes back to sleep and sleeps until morning. She feels safe, even in the dark.
That same precious girl, when asked to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the day, will lose her sweet little mind if the hallway lights are off.
She walks into our dark room with confidence because she knows we’re already there.
She’s not walking away from us into darkness. She’s bravely walking through the darkness to be with us.
I’m really not that different, but the fears have evolved. The dark hallway has become an unknown future or uncontrollable outcomes. The light switch just out of reach is the sought-after prayer that gives me answers or a plan.
It’s only when I remember that God is already in the darkness that I can walk boldly forward. I can face the unknown with confidence, even if my fears are still humming in the background. We can hold both courage and fear. In fact, if I never felt anxious, why would I need to be brave? Why would I need faith?
I realized last week that at least one Whitson kid will start a new school every year for the next seven years. I love change… when it’s for me. But change for my kids, some of whom do not handle change well? That’s a different story. As I calculated the two kids with new schools next year, the one after that, and on and on, I felt my anxiety creeping up. My chest got heavy. My heart rate increased. I don’t want to think about the changes and everything that will come with them.
He’s already there. He already knows the challenges and victories that will come. As I walk through this dark hallway, His reassuring voice guides me. His presence comforts me. I feel safe, even in the dark.
What darkness do you need to face with confidence today?
God is already there.
“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6