It was three in the morning, and I couldn’t sleep. So, I decided to get up for the day and start working on the computer. An hour later, I heard my son’s door open. He walked past the computer room on his way to climb into our bed. Caleb had been getting up about this same time each morning to crawl into bed with us.
As I stopped him on his way to our bedroom, I asked him if he’d like me to lie down with him. Half asleep, he nodded. So, I picked him up and carried him back to his room. As I held him close to me, he quickly drifted off to sleep.
The next day, when I asked Caleb about his little morning quest to our bed, he explained that he had been afraid and wanted to sleep with us. Yet, last night, it wasn’t our bed that gave him peace to sleep–it was being in the presence of his father.
That is so true with God, our Father.
Immediately, I think of Psalms 23 verse 4: “Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”
How many of you know this “dark valley”? I believe many of you do. One of the primary symptoms of a panic attack is a terrible fear of death. Many times, I thought I was going to die–my heart racing, my mind spinning, couldn’t catch my breath–truly, a dark valley.
The first recorded experience of fear in the Bible is when Adam had sinned for the very first time. God called out to him, and Adam answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:10). This first episode of fear resulted when Adam was separated from God–he was away from his Father’s presence.
When fear strikes, I call out to God in prayer, and when I do, I can sense his presence as it melts away all fear. God is real and he is ready to help you through this dark valley of fear if you’ll trust him.
You may respond, “But Russell, I don’t know how to experience the presence of God in my life.”
Here’s where you start: Jesus came to earth to make a way for us to come into our Father’s presence. He is our bridge, our mediator, our sacrifice that was given to us to usher us into the presence of God. Because of Jesus, we can enter into God’s presence. “That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I know that my life is not perfect. I truly am a sinner, separated from God. You are the Bridge that restores my relationship with God. I put my faith in you. This day, I turn away from the wrong things I am doing. I believe you died, was buried for three days and rose again to newness of life. I receive you into my life. Receive me into yours. Help me to experience the presence of God each and every day in my life so that all fear must flee. Thank you Jesus, for it is in your name that I pray. Amen.”