“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
I John 3:1
We didn’t know what was going on. We just heard distressed screams coming from his bedroom. My husband and I exchanged a worried glance. Spurred by our paternal/maternal instincts, in an instant we had leapt from the couch and bound into his room. We found our son sitting up in bed, wide-eyed and arms out-stretched towards the ceiling. He was crying out in jumbled words that we could not untangle into anything that made any sense. He made hollow eye contact with us but couldn’t form words into coherent answers to our pleading questions. “What’s wrong, honey!? Can you tell us?”
I desperately wanted to push myself into the scene that was unfolding in his mind. I wanted to be there to lead him away from the pain he perceived in his mind’s eye. By the time the ambulance had arrived, our little boy was coherent and normal. The EMT suggested that because of his fever, we should take him to the hospital anyway. “What if this is meningitis?” I worried.
And so a groggy little boy and his adrenaline-charged mom cuddled in an ambulance for a prayerful ride to the nearby children’s hospital.
“I think he just had a night terror,” said the doctor in the emergency room. I felt a little foolish for bringing him in for a really bad dream. (And now the plush dog given to our son by the EMT feels like an expensive souvenir for an $800 trip of 4.9 miles to the hospital).
But now we know.
We have wisdom and peace of mind and even expectation at the ready whenever he goes to bed with a fever.
It was many months later, but the next time it happened, the terror went on much longer. We knew there was no benefit in trying to wake him or any reason to worry, so instead we scooped him into our loving arms, and repeatedly assured him with calm words and quiet singing that “It’s going to be okay. Mommy and Daddy are here. You are safe.”
In that moment I glimpsed a sweet taste of God’s love for me. The experience felt like an echo of a spiritual reality. I sensed that God loves me through the trials of this Earthen life in a similar way. He has the bigger picture in mind when He holds us in His love. He knows with certainty that “It’s going to be okay.”
The bearer of all wisdom and peace has the fullest, macro-view of all. And even when we can’t perceive it in the midst of our own realities, His grace and truth are hovering over. He is the loving Father presiding over our sweetest dreams and roughest night terrors too. As Song of Songs proclaims in chapter two: “His banner over me is love.”
Let’s face it. Hope is hard, and sometimes life is a terrifying nightmare. But He is with us because that’s what He wants most of all. There is nothing foolish about the resources He will expend loving and caring for you and me. And even though His wisdom is outside of our ability to fully perceive, He wants us to know His love. He is desperate to be connected to us in the same reality. He loves His children, fiercely. He wants them close for eternity. He loves us. Oh, how He loves us!
In this Hallmark-infused week of romantic love, I hope you take a moment to celebrate the mighty Love the Father has for His children. The Lover of your soul is better than any Valentine on Earth.
“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17