On Higher Ground

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By Bill Horner

Do you really think He would leave you on your own?


“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.
 The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting” (Psalm 138:7-8).

The Spearmans were such good neighbors that even at the immature age of thirteen, I could never refuse them a favor.  Besides, Mrs. Spearman was such a gracious lady.  So my Mom conveyed her request to me and I agreed.

It was a warm summer afternoon in Knoxville many years ago.  Fresh out of eighth grade and ready to enter high school, I thought I knew my way around this world fairly well.  I actually knew next to nothing about babies, but I was not too concerned.  Mrs. Spearman said she would only be gone for a few minutes.  Her other kids were playing at a neighbor’s house.  But their baby boy Chris was napping.  She so hated to wake him, especially to take him along on such a short errand.  There were other things I’d much rather have been doing than babysitting, but again, these were kind people.  I really didn’t mind.  And besides, what could possibly go wrong in a few short minutes?

As I entered their living room, Mrs. Spearman told me to make myself at home.  She pointed out some magazines that might hold my interest.  “But I’ll only be gone a few minutes,” she assured me.  “Chris is asleep.  You don’t need to do a thing.”  This would be a pretty easy gig. 

Nevertheless, as she shut the front door, I suddenly realized I was quite alone.  I sat still and listened to her car backing out of the driveway.  And then I heard it—the sound that sent a shudder through my whole being.  It was so faint.  Maybe I hadn’t really heard it.  But I had.  It was a whimper, the prelude to a cry. 

“Lord, please let that baby keep sleeping,” I humbly pleaded.  But the Lord moves in mysterious ways, and within moments the whimper had turned into full-fledged, hey-I’m-awake- now, get-me-out-of-my-crib-and-feed-me bellowing.  I was petrified!  Nothing in my thirteen years of life training had prepared me for being alone with a crying baby.

I had to do something.  So I walked back to the baby’s bedroom.  One look into the crib verified that there was indeed a baby and he was indeed crying.  So now what?  I’d seen on TV that when a baby cries, someone usually picks him up.  Mrs. Spearman had not authorized me to pick up her baby.  But again, I had to do something.

So I gingerly slipped one hand under Chris’s screaming head and the other hand around his middle in a clumsy attempt to elevate him.  I succeeded in raising him a few inches.  But no one ever told me that a baby is somewhat akin to a sack of potatoes.  I couldn’t put him down—he was crying like crazy.  But I couldn’t pick him up—I was afraid I might break him.  I never felt so helpless.  I never felt so alone.  How did I get into this mess?  How would I ever get out of it?  How long did Mrs. Spearman say she would be gone—a few minutes?  That could be anything short of an hour!

Suddenly I heard the front door open.  Within seconds Mrs. Spearman was standing at my side by the crib.  “Oh, is he crying?”   She sounded so unconcerned as she scooped Chris up into her arms and onto her shoulder.  Suddenly all was right with the world again.

Mrs. Spearman had had the situation under control from the moment she left the house.  She knew she would be gone less than ten minutes.  She never planned on leaving me with a crying baby for an hour. 

Likewise the Lord knows what we face as His followers.  He has it all under control, and even when we feel all alone, He is with us.

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).