In my family, the last few months of 2013 proved to be very exhausting. Home repairs, lingering health issues, family losses, and financial strains seemed to happen nonstop. On top of all of that, taking care of three young children — including the two, one year-old twins who are mobile and into everything — our plates seemed more than full. As each new event unfolded, I kept thinking a little relief surely would be on the way.
One evening, while driving to the hospital to visit my mother, I searched through my “Reminders” playlist on my iPhone for something encouraging, something set in music that best expressed what I had on my heart. I settled on “Rescue” by Jared Anderson, which spoke loudly to me:
“I need you, Jesus, to come to my rescue. Tell me where else can I go?”
When you’re in the midst of crisis mode, your vision is cloudy and the world gets really noisy. At times, I felt like I was walking around in a fog, numbed by the constant challenges bearing down. With everything else screaming so loudly, who would ever be able to hear if God was truly speaking? Beyond that, would He hear me through the noise?
One weekend, everything came to a head. With my mom in the rehab hospital recovering from a stroke, I discovered my father had gone into the emergency room for pneumonia and our youngest daughter, Hannah, had come down with a fever. The doctor also speculated that all of us in the house would get the fever as well.
Sunday morning, I knelt at the altar and prayed. I admit that through this process I had felt disappointment and frustration, but at this time, I felt like I needed to reaffirm my belief that He had it all under control. Maybe I needed to convince myself with my own words. I echoed the words of Job, “Thou you slay me, yet will I trust you.” I told Him, “I don’t have any other choice. I have to trust in You. You will see us through this.”
That evening, I made the trip to visit Mom, with my three year-old daughter in tow. I knew it would cheer Mom up, because she loves Natalie and Natalie loves her. If you ask Natalie “whose girl are you?” she almost always answers, “Granny’s girl!” Leading up to the visit, we had also frequently prayed for Granny, with Natalie repeating me saying, “God, help Granny to feel better.”
We joined Mom for supper in the shared dining area before going back to her room for a visit. Natalie moved around the room, setting off the bed alarm, spilling milk, pretty much what you’d expect a three year-old to do in a hospital room. She’s also a little sweetheart, frequently hugging Mom and singing and dancing for her.
As we were getting ready to leave, I told her, “Natalie, let’s pray for Granny, that God would help her feel better.” But this time, she didn’t repeat what I said; instead, she said something else.
“God will rescue from the fire,” she said. “God is always with us.”
I tried to hold back tears, because I really didn’t want Mom to know how hard the past few weeks had been. But this was an answer to prayer. It was the still, small voice of God speaking through my three year-old directly to me—“I am with you in this fire and I will rescue you. Trust me.”
For the next few minutes, she told us about a lesson she’d learned in children’s church, about the three Hebrew children thrown into the fire that God rescued. She even sniffed her shirt and told us that their clothes didn’t even smell like smoke. God had delivered them because “He is always with us.”
We visited for a while longer and soon went downstairs to get into the car. By this time, we had ventured off into various other conversations about Mickey Mouse and Disney World and the impending visit to the ice cream shop I’d promised her. I buckled her into her car seat and got into the driver’s seat. As I cranked the car, she spoke up once more.
“God is always with us, Daddy.” Yes, He is, sweetheart. Thanks for the reminder.