Before Neil and I were married, we often talked on the phone for hours in the middle of the night. After he closed his restaurant and sent his staff home, he relaxed with his feet up and called me. Sometimes I was at work in the ER, or sometimes I was sleeping at home. Either way, the world was generally fairly quiet at three in the morning.
During one of those calls, when I was home in bed in the dark, I thought I heard a strange sound in the house. Neil insisted we hang up and call 911, but I refused. What if it was just the pets, or Gina thrashing around in her crib? It didn’t really sound like that, but with Neil still on the phone I decided to search the house.
I grabbed the flashlight from my bedside table and tiptoed out of my bedroom. From that angle, I could see the entire first floor. My eyes adjusted to the darkness and everything seemed to be in place. I stood quietly for a few seconds, waiting for another noise or flicker of movement, but there was nothing. Next, I climbed the stairs, Neil breathing in my ear on the phone, but conversation halted to minimize any noise. I went straight to Gina’s room. She was quietly sleeping on her side, snuggling the pink rabbit clutched in her little hands. I timidly lifted the crib skirt to look underneath, mentally prepared for something to jump out and startle me. Nothing did. With my heart anxiously pounding, I searched through her closets but still nothing seemed disturbed. I quietly closed the bedroom door behind me.
Next was the bathroom. Hyperventilating, I whipped open the shower curtain. Whew, nothing. Somehow more scared than when I started, but oddly brave knowing Neil was with me, I searched the rest of the second floor: nothing unusual, nothing out of place. I came back downstairs, quickly turned on all the outside lights, and ran back upstairs to peek out the windows and search the yard and the street. Still nothing.
Finally, I came downstairs and plopped on the edge of the bed. Oh gosh, the bed! With my last few ounces of nervous energy, I hung over the edge of the bed and peered underneath. A pair of dirty socks and a few scary dust bunnies were all I found. Relieved, I climbed back into bed.
“I guess it was nothing,” I told Neil.
“You know, that was pretty stupid of us,” he said. “You should have just let me call for help.”
“Probably,” I answered, “but I didn’t really need any help since you were with me, and there wasn’t anything wrong anyway.”
It’s odd how knowing I wasn’t alone made all the difference. It was so comforting to know he was there, even though he couldn’t really do anything. It’s sort of the same with God. He doesn’t promise to change things for me, just to be there with me. Isn’t that all we need so much of the time? Just to know that we are not alone, not forgotten or deserted or unloved? God is always there, remembering us and loving us in every scary task or stressful decision. It might not feel as direct as a telephone line, but it is. And it is more reliable, too – not subject to stormy weather or power outages. In fact, those are the times when God’s presence can be felt the strongest. When I’m struggling with the storms of life, he’s right there. When I can’t go on by my own power, he is with me. No matter where I go or what I do, God is with me. I am not alone.
Neither are you.