When I was a kid I loved to play in the dirt with no shoes and climb trees. I was wild and I liked it! I smelled like warm dirt and would use rocks, sticks and bushes to create my own world in the empty lots next to our house. There was a rowdy group of neighbor kids, of which I was a part of occasionally, that would take turns terrorizing each other with bike chases and sometimes a dead cat that met a lucky coyote. It was mostly harmless and very fitting for the nineties.
I was home alone one night as an eight-year old (again, it was the nineties so it was totally fine!) while my parents were in various classes to move their teaching careers along. A group of boys rang my doorbell. It was the group of boys that were the meanest and tease-iest. They were ones that took over the neighborhood tree house and carved bad words into the trunk. I answered the door and told them to go away. I couldn’t and didn’t want to be with them. I closed the door and locked it. But they didn’t leave. They kept ringing the doorbell. Then they started pounding on the door and running around the house and banging on the windows. I was completely terrified. How could I possibly stand up to five bigger boys by myself?
When they found some rocks and started throwing them at my house I hid behind the couch. It was starting to get dark and I didn’t know what to do. I stayed behind the couch and prayed with all my might, “God make Daddy come home,” over and over. I could hear the boys yelling for me, daring me to make them stop. They were getting louder and more hyper. It was like a scene from Lord of Flies. They seemed to feel a sense of power over what they were doing to me. When I heard the sound of glass breaking I screamed and squished myself against the wall as much as I could. The boys, probably realizing they would get an old fashioned-whoopin’, hollered one last hoorah and ran off. It was finally silent. I was still too scared to get up and even turn on a light.
My dad came home very early from his class. I sobbed as I told him what had happened. We went outside and inspected the damage done; sure enough, there was a broken window and a rock nearby. We walked down the street together and spoke to the mother of the boy responsible. Dad made everything all right again and I knew I was safe once he was home. Later I heard my dad talking about why he came home early, something he’d never done before. He said, “I don’t know, I very strongly felt like I needed to come home. So I got up and left.” When I heard him say that I KNEW deep down in my soul that God heard my desperate prayer. The connection and access I felt to God in that moment was like a string from my heart to His. He heard me! He moved on my behalf! I literally knew right in that moment that God would always look out for me. This memory has come to my mind during other hard things life has thrown my way. When I’ve felt like I was forgotten or that the big bad meanies of the world were having their way with me I would remember that the God of Heaven heard a grubby little girl’s desperate prayer and answered.
I love to share this story with my kids. I tell them they can call on God when they need help and He will answer.
“The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.”
My story is for you. Call on God when you feel surrounded by enemies. Call on God when you are alone and scared and feel helpless. He is ready to listen and to help you.