I lay shivering in bed, frozen against the wall under the sloping eaves. The darkness haunted me as menacing shadows danced in the window, backlit through the white-sheet ruffled curtains and the pull-down shade.
Wolves, there were wolves there. I could hear them, sense them, feel them slinking across the floor to my bed. They hid there, daring my feet to dangle where razor-sharp teeth could snap. I pulled my toes further under the thin blanket, too scared to scream for Daddy. When my breath finally returned, I was as voiceless as in a dream. I waited an eternity until sleep smothered the fear.
Mommy was no help. She frowned her impatient morning-frown as she cracked eggs sharply and dropped them in the frying pan. Her eyes scolded me while her voice told me the wolves did not exist. Her words made me doubt myself, but my fears didn’t listen to logic. I shoved the questions down and waited. Perhaps Daddy would help in the evening?
I waited until he came home late and changed after work. Then he was in my room. I gulped. He wouldn’t believe me either, would he? His eyes were kind, though, and I tried my voice, surprised when this time there were sounds to go with my fears. I felt silly when I heard my own words. “I don’t want to go to bed. There are wolves under the bed! There are! They were there last night. I heard them, and I saw them in the window!”
“Wolves?” His blue eyes widened as he looked from the window to the bed with the green ruffled bedspread. “Wolves?” he repeated, as I nodded tentatively, feeling sheepish and even younger than my little girl age. I looked down at my toes, afraid of what he’d say.
“Well, we’ll have to get rid of them!” Then, suddenly, he was down on his hands and knees. Barking. Under the bed. At the wolves. Barking, until every last one of the grey monsters disappeared, vanished, slinking out the window and into the night.
“There,” he said as he rubbed his hands together with a satisfied grin. “We took care of THEM!”
And suddenly, I could breathe again. Laughter started to bubble. We giggled, sputtered, and he grabbed me in a hug, tucking me firmly into the bed. It wasn’t scary now, not with my Daddy there.
He understood. He chased the wolves away. He believed me.
I didn’t know Jesus then, I was too little and my Daddy didn’t know how to introduce us. But I learned something then that I know about Jesus now: He takes me seriously. He listens to my fears and my hurts, even if they don’t make sense in an adult world. He listens first, without telling me what I “should” feel, or why my fears are wrong.
And then he barks, and the wolves go away. Schedule wolves. Relationship wolves. Evaluating wolves. Deadline wolves. Money wolves. Worry wolves. Despair wolves. Shame wolves (especially shame wolves, my most vicious wolves of all).
Did you catch that? He listens first. He believes me. And then he barks at the wolves, so I can sleep.
What wolves did He scare for you today?