When I was five years old my 4 year old brother and I would rise early to plan our day of adventures. We had a vast field in the hill country of Zephyr, Texas where we lived while my Dad finished his schooling. A typical morning I followed my brother into the bathroom and assumed my normal position of sitting on the edge of the tall claw footed cast iron tub and hung my right leg down to the cold linoleum floor. That leg dangled in front of a little white open flame gas heater.
My brother was busy doing his business. Cute actually—redheaded, both hands on each side of the toilet holding himself up so that he didn’t disappear into the bowl. We talked and laughed and planned. My mother was still in bed in the room next to the bathroom.
I don’t remember pain—but I remember something caused me to get up off the tub and then I smelled smoke, then stabbing pain on the back of my leg. I went to the doorway to my mom’s room and looked back at my right leg and seeing blue and yellow flames curling up my flannel pajamas. I also glanced and saw my brother, still clinging to the edges of the toilet, eyes as wide as saucers, a look of horror I had never seen on any human face in my 5 years.
Then the pain…I started running around in a circle in my mom’s bedroom. She jumped out of bed, grabbed a house coat and wrapped my leg to suffocate the fire. Then she went to see what was killing by little brother…nothing…he was just horrified at what he had seen.
My dad was at work that day with the only car. Mom called a neighbor to take me to the hospital. I loved my mom. She was so brave and strong. She was 24 years old at that time. She comforted me and carefully put me into the neighbor’s car, took me to the hospital. The nurses were awesome. The Dr.’s were gentle. But as they started peeling the flannel pajamas away from my leg and the pain became intense, I started screaming for the one person who was not there.
“I want my Daddy! Where is my Daddy!” I cried.
“He’s coming, honey,” Mom assured me.
Then apparently the way the table was positioned and me on my stomach, I could see down the hospital hallway. And I saw a man running. He was dodging people and gurneys like a running back through the offensive line. The louder I screamed the faster he ran. It was my Dad.
When he got there, the pain was just as intense as they pulled charred skin away and dressed my 3rd degree burned leg. But it was somehow better now. My father was with me.
You Heavenly Father loves you. Jesus never grew tired of teaching about this love. So He would say, ‘Why do you worry…about your life, what you’re going to eat, what you’re going to drink…why do you worry? Consider the lilies of the field,’ He says. ‘They neither toil nor spin. They never restructure. They don’t attend motivational seminars to release the redwood within them. Yet, look at them,’ He says. ‘Next to them, Solomon looks like he bought his clothes at a thrift shop. Now if God showers such beauty on the grass, which is here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He clothe you?’ Jesus says, ‘Just think about the birds in the air. They have no fear. They don’t live in worry. They don’t have high blood pressure or colitis. How does it happen they have enough to eat? He says, it’s not by an accident. He says, every time they eat, they’re being fed by the Father.”
The point of those teachings is not about God’s ability to keep track of information. It’s about the love of the Father.
If your life is on fire and burning down before you just pause and imagine what it would be like for you to live, moment by moment, day by day, in the constant awareness and the experience of the love of the Father. That God knows about you, knows about your sin, about your junk, and He still delights in you.
You don’t have to worry; you don’t have to live in fear. You can live from moment to moment in the warmth and tenderness of the love of God – and stop the craziness that we call the world, the crazy race to prove how important or significant or attractive you are.
You are held in the hand of God. You live in the Father-love of God.
Now, take a deep breath and go to sleep.