Some of us grew up as latch-key kids.  Not me – I was more of a ten-pin tot.  My mom and dad were bowling enthusiasts and played in a league several times a week. 

They had five kids and dad didn’t make enough on a truck-drivers wage to pay for child-care (nor could they find a sitter foolish enough to take on we five). So, we spent a lot of unsupervised time wandering the bowling alley.  The clatter of falling pins and the smell of musty shoes is indelibly etched in my mind.

I had a routine.  I sifted through and tried out the loaner balls on the rack (until the day I dropped a 16 pounder).  I reached up into the soda machine looking for that one bottle that might have gotten hung up.  And I flipped open the cover of the candy dispenser checking for stray M&M’s.  I was often rewarded for my efforts.

I reached the age of 9 or so, (which felt like 90 in bowling alley years).  I had run all the traps and was bored.  Over on the far wall, were three teenage boys who were playing at a pin ball machine and going at it intensely.

I wanted to watch, so I sidled up to the game, stood on my tiptoes, lost my balance and bumped into the table.  This caused all manner of bells and buzzers to go off along with a flashing sign that said “tilt”  

For you non-pinballers, this was a safeguard built into a pinball machine to keep hotheads from abusing it.  Well I accidently triggered it and the moment I did, the game swallowed the ball and terminated the game.

The machine went silent and the boys – ballistic.  There was rage on their faces and viciousness in their words.  They called me names I had never heard before.

I can’t begin to describe the sense of fear that gripped me at that point.  We were in an out of the way place and my health and general welfare were obviously in danger.  I didn’t cry, but I wanted to.  I was too paralyzed with dread. 

One of the boys began to make a move toward me.  My little heart leapt out of my chest.  At the same time, I sensed some movement in my periphery.  Oh, my goodness, it was my dad.  He was headed from the bathroom back to the lane.   

He wasn’t aware of my crisis, but it didn’t matter.  I quickly slipped away from the boys and went over to walk with him.   Once by his side, the crisis was gone, and the comfort was great.  I didn’t even look back.  Didn’t need to.  My dad was way bigger than those boys and I knew he loved me.  I was safe with him.

I often think back to that experience.  I really do – especially these days. 

It seems that the world has gone tilt.  But the glares that threaten me now, come in the form a virulent virus and financial mayhem.

And though my daddy is in heaven, I still have a heavenly daddy.  I have a powerful, wonderful, all sovereign Father.  I am reminded that He encourages me to come walk beside Him through the chaos. 

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. – Psalm 46:1-3

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4:

Jesus said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” – Hebrews 13:5

Paul reminds us “The Lord is at hand.” – Philippians 4:5

Our God does not practice social distancing. These are His promises to those of us that know Him and love Him.   If He should feel distant to you…

PRAY: Immediately after Paul said, “The Lord is near,” he followed it up by saying, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  – Phil 4:6-7

READ: Marinate over the words of Psalm 23.  Read it as often as you need it. 

LISTEN:  You must open this link and listen to Sara Hart who sings, Be with Me Lord.”   I have honestly listened to and even performed this song maybe a hundred times and yet every time it grips my heart and give me courage.

ALSO: Check out Hidden in My Heart, Vol 1, 2, 3.  This is comforting Scripture put to quality orchestrated backgrounds.  My wife and I frequently play it in our home during seasons of stress.  You can buy it through a music service – OR you can listen to many tracks on Youtube.  Here is a sweet sample.

God Be with You!