I recently took up babysitting. Not because I need another income to supplement my current salary, or because I am pushing thirty and my maternal inclinations are kicking in. Just kidding, the latter is true. I love kids and I miss being around their myopic paradigm, their adorable innocence and their incredible ability to think anything is hilarious. Needless to say, I was super excited to work my first gig. It was a Friday night and you’re probably wondering why would I forfeit my Friday night or you’re thinking “Wow, you’re lame and boring” … well, I am lame and boring, but it was cold and rainy night so, why not?
Anyways, I get to my destination. It’s a church near my home and it’s for a marriage conference. The theme must have been black tie/formal date night because everyone was dressed to the nines. I peeked into the room where they were holding the meeting. It looked like a wedding reception, the room was dimly lit, there were round tables dressed with all the proper accessories (flowers, candles, name cards), and there was even catering, which smelled like freshly preheated Italian food. “What a wonderful night in store for these couples,” I thought! Later I would find, it wouldn’t be for the sitters.
I checked to see which room they assigned me to. They didn’t, so I got to pick. I glanced into a room where I saw 5 to 7 mild-tempered kids who looked about eight years old. I picked that room. The kids were deceiving in projecting their mildness. By the time everyone checked their kids in, I had 35 kids. Total. With one other helper. It was a nightmare. Apparently, these parents injected Mountain Dew into their offspring before they left the house because they were bouncing off the walls. Literally. They were running, jumping and karate kicking OFF THE WALLS. It wasn’t until we played the riveting feature film ”Big Hero 6” that we got them to settle down. At that point, I got to rest and more importantly…SIT!
A little girl, I actually connected with and LIKED, came and asked to sit in my lap while we watched the movie. I said of course and she plopped down into my Indian style crossed legs. She had such a sweet spirit and I was soaking up this opportunity to be a nurturer. This was fulfilling that motherly void I was looking to satisfy, success! I would have been perfectly content if this is what God wanted to show or give me that night. But it wasn’t. Like a good Dad, He goes deeper. My little angel on my lap asked if I could take her to the bathroom. So we get up, hand in hand, step out of the NOW quiet room and make our way down the hall to the bathroom.
As soon as we stepped out into the hallway, all anxiety and chaos came rushing back. This hallway was the Valley of the Shadow of Death. To our right was the room the meeting was being held, The Promise Land, where the parents were clueless to the disorder going on outside the doors. To our left were the toddler and infant rooms. These rooms made my room look like Bora Bora. The toddlers were screaming, crying, disrobing themselves and trying to escape (I would too). The infant room had crying babies all over and the rancid smell of stool that lingered into the hall. There were babysitters in the hall either putting kids in time-out or walking around with infants, trying to settle the cry of babes. There was also the wait staff weaving in and out of the mayhem, carrying food and drink into the Promise Land through the double doors. This was the longest hallway I’d ever seen. But I had to get this little princess to the potty, so I endured.
As we walked through the madness, my little pretend daughter stops and gasps with wide eyes and excitement written all over her face, “IT’S DADDY! THAT’S MY DADDY.” Um, what? There were only wait staff and baby tamers in the hall.
I asked her, “Where?” She led me to the double doors and we peaked into Heaven (yes, I am now calling this room Heaven). She pointed to the pastor who was on the mic, she smiled and whispered: “That’s my Daddy!”
Immediately, I got pretty emotional. Not only because I was seeing the display of love between a father and his daughter, but because this is the story of our lives!
How many times do we walk through the mess of this world and not hear OUR Father? I didn’t hear the pastor speaking at all. I was too busy looking at the chaos around me. There was SO much going on in that hallway, there was disorder, disarray, and dysfunction. But this little girl HEARD the voice of her father. She knew that voice because she dwells in the house of her father, they have an intimate relationship, he probably was speaking to her in while she was in her mother’s womb, and she KNOWS his voice.
I want this to be true of me and my Father. I want to KNOW His voice, though I may not see Him, though I may not feel Him, I want to be able to recognize the voice of The Lord in the most chaotic of times. It’s easy to hear God when times are easy because it’s quiet. But when things start to hit the fan, and it gets loud, know His voice and listen. There is a still and quiet voice speaking victories over you right now… I pray you quiet your circumstances and listen for it.
And after the earthquake, there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:12