Published in the Salvation Army Warcry magazine June 9th, 2018
When one of my daughters was around the age of six, she pushed the limits. One particular little tirade was over nothing memorable, yet she let the household know exactly how she felt.
I was watching my husband’s face as we stood aghast at this six-year-old’s tantrum. Wondering what he was going to do, I deliberated on whether to step in or let him deal with this. My thoughts were to discipline her and send her to her room, but instead, taking a deep breath, my husband looked her in the eye said, “Let’s go for a walk.”
“I don’t want to go for a walk!” she replied, stomping her little foot on the ground and crossing her arms in front of her.
“Let’s go for a walk,” he said again, and took her hand. Hesitantly, she trudged out the front door with him, her brow creased with cranky lines, and her little mouth tightly pursed. She was adamant she was not going to enjoy this.
As they left, I prayed. I prayed that my daughter would calm down and that my husband would know the right words to say.
It was lightly raining when they left, just a gentle shower, enough to sprinkle on their heads but not enough to soak them. Hopefully it would add to the adventure of the walk. But as time ticked on, the light shower quickly turned into torrential, bucketing rain—and they were still out! I was worried for them, worried that our little miss might come home more miserable than when she left.
They were out for a while longer, but when they returned I was surprised and delighted to hear the sound of laughter, see big smiles on their faces—and hear excited stories coming from the lips of my previously cranky daughter.
“What happened?” I asked, pleasantly bewildered. “What did you say to her?” (This guy had some serious parenting skills that I was keen to get hold of!)
“Nothing,” he replied. Thinking he was just being modest, I probed him for more information.
“You must have said something!”
He then explained that he really didn’t say anything. They had walked in silence most of the way and then it rained. The rain was heavy and they took shelter under a tree. The tree had fruit on it which they picked while getting completely drenched by the rain.
With the breaking of the clouds came the breaking of the mood. Our little girl had needed time out, and for this time out, just being with her daddy was all that was needed for her to see perspective once again.
Sometimes we all just need to be with our dad—that is our heavenly father. The late nights may be piling up, things may be annoying us, and there is no real reason to be out of sorts—we just are. That is when we most need to be still.
Psalm 46 verse 10 says: “Be still, and know that I am God.” When we are still, we rest, we listen, and we are refreshed. Finding the quiet can be hard to do in this busy world of ours, but when those spaces are found, we see how necessary they are for us to focus again on what’s important, to get our eyes off our problems and gain a fresh new view of the world through the eyes of the one who holds the world in his hands.
In the New Testament, we see Jesus himself showing us the example of finding those spaces and spending time with his father to refresh: “But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” (Luke chapter 5 verses 15–16)
If it was important for Jesus to spend time with his father, how much more important is it for us? To close our eyes and soak in his presence not only calms our mind but also refreshes our souls—we don’t even need to say anything.
So the next time we’re feeling a little stressed out, maybe we should ‘take a walk in the rain’ with our heavenly father. We can be silent. We can be still. We can listen and we can let him know how we’re feeling. Time out with God gives us the best perspective.