I woke up in the middle of last night wondering if I was having the male menopause. I was so hot. Perhaps I had left the heating on again? I managed to accidentally bring happiness to my family for 48 hours the week by forgetting to turn it off until Tuesday, after I had turned it up for our Sunday lunch guests. But the cause of my overheating wasn't going to result in a frightening gas bill. As I turned over I discovered our 3 year old in the bed beside me.
Like most parents on finding a child in bed with them, I asked the two obvious questions: 1. How can someone so small take up so much space!? 2. And when on earth did he arrive? I have no recollection of letting him in.
He stirred and said, "Where's stinky?" This is neither a reference to his mother or me! Stinky is the favoured teddy thing. So named because it was sucked when he was a baby, so that it had a brown, soggy, nose, that smelt more cheesy than a strong Camembert left out in the sun for a week. Fortunately the sucking has stopped and the washing has increased.
Stinky was found underneath him. We lay back down. He suggested that I was taking up too much space. Something that I know strictly to be true. I need to lose weight. But at 2.40 am this fact didn't seem relevant. So I said that maybe he'd like to return to his bed. A journey I accompanied him on to ensure that he made it to his destination without encountering any monsters.
When I woke up this morning I was struck by how what my three year old did last night, is really what I was saying that I needed to do in our Life Group (Small group of Christians seeking to help each other live for Jesus by studying the Bible, praying and doing life together). Not that I should look for a hug from a big hairy bloke in the middle of the night. But rather that when I'm tired (Ok I know that with 7 kids it's my fault!) my danger is to indulge my self-pity. To get stressy about things going on at home and church. I was asking them to pray that I would come in my weakness to God. That I might treasure Christ and spend time with my heavenly Father.
Because for my three year old the obvious thing to do when your struggling or tired or afraid is run to the arms of his father. Fortunately he doesn't yet understand how limited my ability to help him is, so he feels totally secure in my arms.
The problem is that when I'm struggling or tired or afraid I don't run quickly enough into the arms of my heavenly Father. God's people in the Old Testament had to be reminded of the nature of the God they were failing to trust.
“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." (Deuteronomy 33:26-27)
Like them I need to be quicker to go to the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ. Because when I do, I find that he had me in his hand all along.