From Fear to Delight

125By F. Stewart Edwards, President of French Camp Academy

A number of years back, you may have read about my (then) two-year old daughter, Dabney’s, fear of thunderstorms.  At night, it was a common thing for her to run into our bedroom, jump in between Rebecca and me, and pull the covers over her head.  After a few minutes had passed and the thunder had settled, the room’s darkness became apparent to Dabney.  She asked me in her warm little voice, “Daddy, are you looking at me?”  There was some sense within her that gave her comfort and peace in the midst of fear that she had the gaze of her father.  Even though Dabney could not see me, she knew that her father’s gaze was on her and that he would not allow any harm to come her way.  After I confirmed that I was watching her, she was then able to go back to sleep.

Let’s fast forward to another time to a beautiful Saturday morning.  Dabney was six, her older brother, Holman, seven.  When I first saw them outside that day, they were in our front yard crouched behind an oak tree, positioning themselves to deliver a small golden BB to any unsuspecting bird that flew into their radar.  Holman is the hunter and Dabney his able assistant (and General most of the time).  Unbeknownst to them, as I watched them from fifty yards away, a certain pleasure came over me.  It was a warm feeling, one that caught me off guard and demanded that I take a moment out of my Saturday punch list of “TO DO’s” and find pleasure in simply gazing at my children.

You know God has given life many pleasures, but very few times do those pleasures grip you at the heart and mind at the same time.  These experiences are ones that usually cannot be planned or paid for; they simply show up as unexpected gifts.  This was one of those special times, when all you have to do is “take it in.”

As I reflected on that thought, it also occurred to me that my Heavenly Father takes great joy in His children.  His gaze is always on us.  That means he watches what we do with keen interest.  He looks out for our best at all times.  He protects us from things he knows would harm us. Even when we make poor choices that do not please him, he is always there and ready to pick us up, dust us off and receive us when we turn from my wrong and ask Him for forgiveness through the blood of His Son, the Lord Jesus. 

The Scripture teaches that God actually “delights in me.”  Psalm 147:11 says, “the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”  When I trust God to lead my life and to take care of me, my trust in Him grows too.  When children play the “let me jump–you catch me game” the first time is pretty scary for them (and sometimes for me, tooJ). But after the first and certainly the second time, their trust grows and the next day there is hardly a second thought when leaving their perch.

Faith in God is somewhat like this…the more we trust Him and let go, we find He is worthy of our trust.  If the child never jumps, there is no way for them to know if Dad will catch them.  As you think about your life, where do you find yourself?  Is it hard to believe that God really does delight in you?  Have you made poor choices and decided that you can go it alone?  How is that working for you?

These lessons are ones we teach each and every day at French Camp.  Some lessons need to be re-learned at any age. However, God is gracious to us and we can find hope and be renewed by His gaze, because it is filled with His unfailing love.

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