Brave Because He is Brave

I've BEEn adopted-2I have an unabashed love affair with children’s books. One of my favorite genres, I adore rich illustrations, flowing language, and whimsy. Words evoke emotions, and stir the imagination. I love when authors paint masterful imagery amid simplicity. A story well told is a fresh spring breeze.

Several nights ago I awoke to a peculiar though instantly recognizable sound. I listened in the stupor of the half-asleep, not sure I hadn’t merely dreamt it. There it was again, and I smiled at the unmistakable call of an owl. No joke. Despite my residential neighborhood, an owl must have been right outside my window! I’m not sure I’ve ever heard an owl in the wild before.

One of my favorite picture books sprang to mind.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen is the story of a little girl who goes “owling” with her Father. She’s waited her whole life for the privilege, and the night spreads before her quiet and mysterious.

“It was late one winter night, long past my bedtime, when Pa and I went owling. There was no wind, The trees stood still as giant statues. And the moon was so bright the sky seemed to shine. Somewhere behind us a train whistle blew, long and low, like a sad, sad song.” 

And so we’re whisked along through eyes filled with wonder.

“I didn’t ask what kinds of things hide behind black trees in the middle of the night. When you go owling, you have to be brave.” 

How vividly I imagine a little girl clomping through the snow, trusting her strong father to lead the way. Perhaps she is a little nervous, a bit afraid of things that hide in the night.

But “when you go owling, you have to be brave.”

Brave.

Once I asked my kindergarten students, “Why was the little girl brave?”

Without hesitation and with full confidence, a small voice eagerly replied, “Because her Dad was there.”

What a gentle reminder of a bigger Father! As with any great story, Owl Moon points to the biggest story. Why do we love heroes? And redemption? And family? And good versus evil?

We long for the ultimate Hero. We long for the ultimate Father.

The little girl was not afraid because he was brave. She trusted her father. He was enough to face the “kinds of things that hide behind black trees.” He protected. And she was safe to enjoy the beauty of the night rather than fear the unknown.

How clearly the gospel rings from the pages of a simple children’s story!

I have a Redeemer who protects, provides, and is infinitely brave. I’ve been adopted, and I have a Father who loves me and makes me dwell in safety.

He knows the unknowns.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:3

But I don’t always trust my Father perfectly. Sometimes I fear the things that hide behind black trees. I forget to enjoy His presence. I forget to marvel at the adventure.

But He remains the same. Strong. Trustworthy. Brave.

Jesus trusted, therefore I can trust.

Jesus was brave, therefore I am brave.

“I knew then I could talk, I could even laugh out loud. But I was a shadow as we walked home. When you go owling you don’t need words or warm, or anything but hope.”

The owl continued his song in the night, and I drifted back to sleep–safe, warm, and protected.

Trade loneliness for peace.

not alonwWide open skies, green fields, glimpses of rich dark soil between the rows: I soak up the landscape, marveling at the God who made it.

No music plays. No phone calls are made. Instead I relish the silence. And I realize I’m content to be alone with my thoughts, content to pray, content to slow down and listen.

This is a gift of grace.

Though I love music in the car, I’ve learned to be comfortable with silence. When my heart is quiet, I can meet with God.

Thank you, Lord, for wind and rain. Thank you for suffering. Thank you for seasons of refreshment. Thank you, Lord, for life.

My heart floods with peace and grace quantifiable. I’m happy. It’s a moment in time void of struggle. Words like security, stability, protection, and joy spring to mind. These are the mercies of God, flowing from His heart to mine. He protects. He secures.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

A heart guarded, a running conversation between God and me, we pick up where we left off.

Solitude is word that speaks peace to some, dread to others. In my life, it extends beyond a quiet country drive. God has taught me how to be alone. He has transformed solitude to prayer.

In past days solitude would have been a different word, however.

Lonely.

“I’m so lonely I could scream!”

When half of me was ripped away, I knew a loneliness that permeated every interaction, every worship service, every evening by myself. “Alone” felt like a curse word. Loneliness was a profound ache at the core of my heart that sometimes made me feel crazy.

Over time, I poured loneliness into pages and pages of prayer. Talking to God began to be like breathing– constant and necessary. Prayer was no longer a short chunk of time, but blossomed into flowing streams of conversation with the One who made me. Yet again a gift of grace.

He met me with patient, gentle refrain. ”You are not alone.”

And therein lies the catalyst, Jesus satisfies. If I have Jesus, I have all I truly ever need. Peace emanates from Christ.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV

He offers perfect peace.

Like everyone else, sometimes worry and anxiety barricade peace, but today belief affects actions. Because Jesus satisfies, loneliness gives way to solitude. And solitude is fertile ground for time with God.

Conversation with Him reflects a mind “stayed on” Him. And He guards my heart. Anxiety and fear have no choice but to flee.

People and things temporarily fill the space called “lonely,” but at the end of day, I’m left with a vessel that leaks.

But “lonely” filled with Christ is a cup that never leaks, overflowing and inundated.

Jesus, you satisfy. By grace I know it to be profoundly true. Draw me ever closer to you. Fill me with you, for you obliterate loneliness. Teach me to embrace solitude as a catalyst to prayer.  When my heart is afraid, anxious, or worried, lead me back to peace that surpasses understanding. Guard my mind with you.


This post by Ami appeared first at anewseason.net

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