My husband had to work late tonight and got home just as I was putting Lincoln to sleep.
I could hear his failed attempt to stealthily creep up the stairs, the old wood giving him away with each step. I mentally calculated the moments until he reached the door, the light from the hallway just barely peaking into our pitch black room.
Lincoln was almost there. Almost. But the sound of footsteps, and the presence of light, and the ominous silhouette of a tall man standing in the doorway were simply too much to ignore. He turned away from me to investigate and caught a glimpse of Musa's shadow in the dark, his face completely unrecognizable in the blackness.
Then came fear. I could sense it. In a moment, he was sitting up on his knees staring at the figure in the door. He turned to me for affirmation and, receiving none, turned again to the man in the door. Whether we were safe or in danger, he couldn't tell.
Finally, Musa came closer, kneeling on the floor and crouching by the bed. Though now just inches away, Lincoln still couldn't make out his face.
So he did something that would impact me more profoundly than I knew at the time.
He reached out his chubby hand, and ran his finger along Musa's cheek, then his nose, then finally palmed one entire side of his father's face with his hand.
At last his body relaxed, clearly satisfied. Even in the pitch-black darkness, he knew his father. Not because he could see him, but because he knew his face.
I couldn't shake the preciousness of that scene this evening. (I'm a mother and these things affect me.) And more than the intimacy of a shared father-son moment, I couldn't help but think about my own relationship with my Heavenly Father.
I've had some darkness of my own lately. I know what it's like to be in that pitch black room feeling scared and overcome with fear. I've prayed many a prayer asking for guidance and wisdom followed by painstaking waiting to see how it all turns out.
And it has only occurred to me just now that the Lord was always there. What if in the darkest moments, His face was just inches away? What if the things that made me fear and panic - the trials that stretched my faith thin and tested my courage - were His very doing? The sound of Him coming to me in the blackest of nights? The steps of a Holy God drawing near to a small and very terrified me?
In Psalm 27:8 David writes this of the Lord:
"You have said, 'Seek my face.' My heart says to you, 'Your face, Lord, do I seek.'
I pray - that I would be able to recognize not just God's hand of blessing, or His voice of peace, but also the most intimate and expressive part of Him - His face.
So that when I'm in the darkness and He draws near, I know Him still. And I'm not afraid.