My daughter Alyssa has asthma. She takes breathing treatments (nebulizer for those who’ve been there) four times a day; she takes two different pills to keep her airways open and clear and then two more medications for allergies. If the allergies aren’t controlled, the asthma set’s up residents and starts making itself more at home than it should.
If things go really bad I’m up in the middle of the night to give her yet another treatment, so I respond pretty quickly when, in the dark of night, her cute voice calls out, “Daddy.”
Mom used to always get up with her. That was before the rebellion two years, three months, one week and four days ago.
You see, one night I was resting comfortably, oblivious to everything going on around me when I heard a voice. It wasn’t one of those voices that seek to gently wake you from restful slumber. It was more like a jackhammer to my relaxed conscience. “Why is it that I’m the only one that ever gets up in the middle of the night?” This was followed by a wave of blankets being washed over me followed immediately by a rush of air that any blow dryer would envy.
I guess I had always believed that a loving, never tired mom best took care of a child’s needs in the middle of the night. Not an exhausted father.
I have learned that getting up in the middle of the night is a skill that even I could learn and it has helped curb any undue maternal frustration. I like hearing my daughter call out “Daddy”, it lets me know she is calling on someone she trusts and loves.
Sometimes the things she is calling me for seem pretty trivial.
“I dropped my blanket. Could you pick it up?” I do and she goes back to sleep.
“What is that?” she asks on other occasions pointing to a rectangled object on the floor.
“A book,” I reply.
“Oh, goodnight Daddy. I love you.”
“What did you need Alyssa?” I ask.
“That’s all. I was just curious about what that was on the floor.”
She uses big words for such a little girl. Then again, she’s a preschooler now.
Sometimes she needs medicine, or a shoulder to rest on and a familiar voice to let her know that everything will be all right. And I am currently in possession of that shoulder and I’m the one that uses the voice that she longs to hear when things go bump in her night. I wouldn’t give up that role for the world.
In our own lives we have books we can’t recognize on the floor and we drop our security blankets and we cry out for our Father to either help us pick up our blanket or to help us conquer our fear of the unknown. And sometimes we are hurt or sick and we just need to know He’s there.
He doesn’t prioritize a list and only stand with us when He feels it may be worth His while. He’s there no matter how trivial others may think our request is.
The New Testament called Him “Abba, Father.” That is the most intimate form of His name possible. It’s a lot like my daughter calling out, “Daddy”. I’m the one she can throw her arms around and she can throw herself into my arms anytime. I hold her when her tears run free and fast (but then so does her mom).
I think that’s how God wants us to come to Him. With arms wide open for a mutual embrace while we allow the God of all comfort to comfort us. To help us through difficult times, even if no one else thinks the crisis we feel really qualifies for such divine attention.
In the dark of the night, at noontime, during a break at work, call on Him. He’s right there, loving His children one hurt at a time.
I’m learning that “Abba, Father” is the absolute best role model for daddies. And just as my daughter can call on me in the middle of the night, I can head back to bed and call on Him. And it’s all right; He works the nightshift, too.