“MOMMY! I HAD A BAD DREAM!” I could hear my 4 year old calling to me from his room and the fear in his voice was palpable. His little frame was shaking as the scary scenes from his dream were still fresh in his mind. I scooped him up in my arms and stroked his soft curls as I whispered, “It’s ok. Mama’s got you. You’re safe.” I repeated the words until slowly, his little body began to relax and his strained expression faded as a look of peace washed over his face. After a while, I tucked him back into bed with his favorite blanket, and as I began to rise to go back to my own bed, he looked up at me pleadingly and asked if I would stay with him, “just until he falls asleep.” I agreed, and within moments he was sound asleep, without a trace of distress left on his sweet little face, trusting that I was at work, watching over him.
Mom or not, we have likely all experienced a scenario similar to this. Perhaps you were the little one, pleading with a parent to watch over you while you slept. Maybe someone close to you just felt safer and more at peace having you there with them. Maybe you long to have that same sense of safety, peace and rest in your own life, knowing that someone is at work watching over you.
A couple nights ago before bed, I was feeling especially anxious. I always do my best worrying at night and true to form, as I tried to sleep, one thing after another kept popping up in my mind.
“That dental bill was expensive and there’s more work to be done. How much is that going to cost us?”
“I have so much to do tomorrow. Call the repair guy for the grout, schedule appointments for the kids, plan a birthday party and schedule playdates…oh and I can’t forget to call back my friend that called me over a week ago. I hope she’s not mad at me…”
“A lot of people are getting sick with this new Delta variant of covid…what if the baby gets sick? What if we all get sick?”
“What is school going to look like for the kids this year? Will anything ever feel normal again?”
“I don’t think I’m spending enough quality time with the kids, I need to find ways for us to get more quality time in.”
“Man, my hubby and I need a date night without the kids.”
“I should go check on the baby.”
And around and around I went. So I started making plans.
I lay there wide awake, troubleshooting plans A, B and C, hoping to engineer the best possible outcomes for all the things. In the back of my mind, I knew I trusted that God was working, but because it’s sometimes hard to see exactly how, I came up with plans X, Y and Z, “just in case”.
Now I’m not knocking a good plan, I think that’s part of responsible adulting and a normal instinct when things start to stack up and get overwhelming. But in that moment, my planning was a feeble grab for control in a world in which I have very little. It was coming from a place of self-reliance instead of prayerful dependence on God.
After a short while, I found myself wishing I could just put everything down and give my brain a rest from its ceaseless planning and fretting. I wanted someone else to stand watch over my fears and anxious thoughts and work through the problems of the world, so I could just close my eyes and sleep peacefully.
I picked up my Bible. I had been reading the book of John and had just gotten to chapter 5 where Jesus heals a paralyzed man by the pool in Bethesda. The miracle happened on the Sabbath and when the Jewish leaders found out about it and began harassing Jesus for breaking Sabbath rules. Jesus’ reply to them in verse 17 commanded my attention:
But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” (John 5:17 NLT)
As I slowly repeated His words in my mind over and over, the weight of their meaning began to sink in and my shoulders began to relax for what felt like the first time all week. In that one sentence from Jesus, I was reminded of two very important things.
First, Jesus is stating with authority that He is the Son of God. As the Son of God, Jesus is much better equipped to solve life’s problems than I am. He has an eternal perspective greater than anything I can conceive, and it is His wisdom I should be depending on instead of my own. Through Jesus, I have direct access to the Father, and all the power and resources of a child of God. When I pray I have a personal audience with Him and the very best plans always start in a conversation with God.
Second, I was reminded that God is always at work. Not just part-time, not whenever He can get to it or when He remembers. Always! He is constantly at work, healing us, forgiving us and providing for us. He doesn’t phone it in or do anything halfway. He gives us His very best, putting into place detail after loving detail. God never tires or wearies. His strength is boundless and His stamina endless.
And because God is always at work, I don’t have to be.
My mind doesn’t have to churn out solutions to all of the problems in one night. I can hand God my worries, my stresses and my best laid plans and He will go to work. He will stand watch over my fears and anxious thoughts, so I can just close my eyes and sleep peacefully. I can trust Him to stay with me, and remind me that He’s got me, and that I’m safe.
And while I sleep He continues to work. He goes before me and makes plans and provisions. He works powerfully on my behalf, but He doesn’t stop there. Because God can see the bigger picture of all our lives, His plans always bring about the most benefit to the most people. If He works something out in my life, I guarantee that it will bring blessing to others as well. His goodness and love ripple out like waves in the water, touching many hearts and lives all at once. He truly is a good, good Father.
Dear friend, if you are like me and struggling with whatever is swirling around in your head today, know that you can set it all into the capable hands of Jesus. If you want, play the song at the link below and imagine Jesus right there beside you, gently whispering words of comfort to you. Picture God wrapping you up in His strong embrace as He lifts the weight of the world off of your shoulders and exchanges it for a peace that passes all understanding. You are safe and you can rest, because God is always working.
Cecie’s Lullaby song, by Steffany Gretzinger
Read the lyrics here