It’s 3:35 am and I’m wide awake.
At 3:20, I heard the little “bump, bump” of our bedroom door closing and expected little “thump, thumps” of feet to follow. Instead, a little voice with feet planted by the door shouted a whisper, “I always have to run . . .” It was voiced as a request really.
“You can run . . .” I whispered back. Then the thump, thumps came.
She crawled in next to me confidently and I asked, “Why do you have to run?” Not with condescension, but curiosity, to see how she would answer.
“Cuz . . . I’m . . . scared in the dark,” she said.
“Oh yeah, . . . it’s ok to run,” I said.
Every other time I’ve heard the door go bump in the night, I have quickly whispered out, “Don’t run . . . !” It made sense of course. There might have been a laundry basket or suitcase not yet put away, or she might clip the corner of the bed, like I do in broad daylight. “Don’t run,” was for her safety. At the same time I realized it makes sense to run from the dark and I need to use the words, “Don’t run,” with caution.
I lied there and thought of the words, “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” My little one showed me, at 3 am, how a child receives the Kingdom. She knew the dark and knew to run from it. She also knew where to go. She knows the most important thing there is to know at 4 years old, the way to be righteous is to run.
As we grow, we are trained out of childlike faith. It’s childish to be afraid of the dark and those of us adults who still are, are afraid to admit it.
Even in daylight, we see clearly yet we are blinded to the darkness that is. We don’t believe we’re in the dark. We walk in our own ways and when faced with trials, or worse, our own pride and selfishness, we’re “not afraid of the dark,” we can handle it. We don’t run anymore. We are actually consumed with so much inconceivable darkness that we don’t even know where the safe place is to run.
If I can take it a step further, sometimes we do run and there’s a “laundry basket” in our way or we clip a corner too short. We stop running. We lose our childishness and believe the dark, that there really is no One there to run to after all, thanks to that blunder. Or what’s worse, we run, but we go from behind the door, to the dark in the closet, . . . we haven’t arrived anywhere. We’ve grown up and smartened up, there are no Arms waiting.
If you have a child, think about it next time you see them run. When they run to you, perhaps you want to encourage the running. It’s important for them to know a safe place and have confidence to go there. Yet if their running stops there, you have become a stumbling block.
Encourage their hearts to run further. As they learn confidence in your arms, it’s only a shadow of the Arms their souls must run to. Let them know, they must run.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into to it and is safe.”
“I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations,
7 To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.
8 “I am the Lord, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.”
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.