I have memories of my father when I was sick and weak as a child. In one memory he is coming into my room in the middle of the night. I had been feverish and prone to hallucinating. My parents had come to check on me. My temperature is 106 degrees. My mom is running cold bathwater. My dad is picking me up and carrying me to the tub. I am not happy. I have been nice and warm in a warm bed and I know what is coming. I’ve been through it before. They are going to plunge me into that cold tub in the middle of the night.
In the next memory I am at a big medical center. I am draped over my father’s shoulder, because I am too ill to walk. My father is carrying me into the elevator. Then we are going down a hall to the doctor’s office where I will most surely get a dreaded shot. “Are you there Dana?” my dad says as he walks. “Yes,” I answer. It feels like nothing for my father to take me in his arms and carry me. For as bad as I feel, that part feels… good.
When I was sick in the night, my father was willing to do what would upset and discomfort me in order to help me and bring that fever down. He knew I was in trouble. And deep inside I knew, my father was doing something… good. He was helping.
I am thinking now about our Heavenly Father and of how he keeps watch over our souls. In love God will break in at midnight, take our temperature, and act. He will discomfort us. Plunge us awake. This is part of his faithful hand. A hand we sometimes whine against, for we are prone to be ill and live for our own comfort, even if it kills us. Sometimes we misread our Heavenly Father’s love and that loving plunge into the cold, eye-opening tub.
As I look back I am so grateful for my father’s love and attention. I’m thankful for his faithful engagement in my life always, but especially when I was weak and helpless and in trouble.
One of my favorite scriptures when I am feeling up against it is “See, how like a father, I have carried you all this way?” (Deut. 1:31) God said this to his people when they were facing an arduous journey and enemies. The people felt weak and frightened. They had looked at the path ahead, had taken stock of themselves, and knew that they did not personally have what it would take to handle things. So God reminds them of how they had made it thus far. Maybe they thought they had been walking on their own two feet, but God, like a father, had carried them all the way. And so God reminds me today, that he has carried me, and that he will carry me still. Into the elevator. Down the hall. Forward. “Are you there Dana?” “Yes, Lord.”