I kneel beside him, inches from his little body. I pat his bum with my hand and gently rock him side to side as he struggles to find his comfy spot.
I am right there. Right there beside him.
I can see his tears; I can hear his cries; and I know his struggle.
He’s sleepy and exhausted and exhausted from being sleepy.
Tossing his head from side to side, he struggles.
And where am I the entire time?
I’m right there. Near. I’m, very literally, patting him with my mama-hand on his eenie-teenie sleeper.
And yet, he wiggles and writhes as if no one sees his struggle.
But I’m there…right there; he is not alone.
So I bend down close, with my knees on the carpet beside him, and I put my lips to his little ears and whisper, “Shhhhh. It’s okay, buddy. Mama is here. Shhhhh. I’m right here.” And as my lips repeat the “shhhhh” right above his ear, I feel his softness at the tip of my lips.
Close. I am close.
As I comfort, he stills.
And as he stills, I ask myself, “Why couldn’t he trust that I was near? Why did he doubt the distance? Couldn’t he have calmed without my comfort in his ear? I was never gone; I was always near.”
And as I ask these questions in my heart, I hear the Lord speak into mine.
Isn’t that the same with you, Jessica? Don’t you sometimes need to see me and hear me…way-down close? I’m there, and I’m near, and yet you want me in your ear. And because I love you and because I’m a good Father, I bend down and extend my calming presence in the crook of your ear. Because I love you, I draw near for your ear to hear.
With tears in my eyes and a “shhhhh” at my lips, I am grateful.
I am grateful that we have a God who doesn’t just tell us He loves us in His Word (though that should and could be plenty enough), but He shows us…CLOSE.
Those hugs from heaven and those kisses from the King. Have you had them?
Timely words that meet you in the midst of your struggle?
A check in the mail at a time when the need was great?
A vase of flowers when the despair is real and the hope feels gone?
Help from a friend in the midst of a busy week?
Extended grace in the middle of a big mistake?
A shooting star? A red bird? A breath-taking sunset?
Kindness from a stranger in line?
Affirmation from an unexpected place?
A new ministry partner?
A job interview?
A negative scan?
A reassuring dream?
A message from the pulpit?
Those moments and minutes where you know (without a shadow of a doubt) that the Lord is near…way-down close…giving earthly encouragement in a way that only heaven can?
Those times when you very literally hear His voice in the ear of your heart.
Bending down, He loves you…us…me…close.
Though we know (in our heads) He’s there, we long (in our hearts) to know He’s near.
He sends a son for Abraham.
He sends a rainbow for Noah.
He sends a burning bush for Moses.
He sends manna for the Israelites.
He sends a donkey for Balaam.
He sends a fleece for Gideon.
He sends a vision for Jacob.
He sends spies for Rahab.
He sends a baby for the world.
He sends a chorus of angels for the Shepherds.
He sends 12 extra baskets of fish and loaves for the crowds.
He sends an empty tomb for the disciples.
On and on it goes.
Moments when God (in His great grace and manifold mercy) bends low and gets close.
To show His glory…
to reveal His love…
to draw us near…
to comfort us…
to draw us to repentance…and
to meet our human-ness with glimpses of His holiness.
Way-down close, He knows our earthly ears need to hear a heavenly whisper.
So as I “shhhhh” my babe tonight, I reflect on the “Father of all-loving, ever-perfect, way-down close shhhhh’s,” and I praise Him for the many, many moments when He comes near and comforts with His lips at my ear.