Clinging to our Father with childlike abandon Print
Everyday Faith
Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

Everyday Faith column by Julianne Nornberg

My six-year-old daughter clutched her daddy's hand as they walked side by side through the woods one day.

Suddenly, a black and yellow snake slithered across their path, startling my daughter. She gasped in fear and squeezed her daddy's hand.

Her daddy, my husband, patted her hand gently and said, "Don't worry. Garter snakes won't bite you. They're just looking for crickets to eat."

"Oh," my daughter sighed in relief. "I'm glad you're with me. Because I don't know much about the world. And besides," she added, remembering her usual security object, "I don't have my pillow."

I chuckled when my husband later related to me this tender Winnie the Pooh moment.

A father's love

But then I realized how, with such innocence and open humbleness, my daughter could teach the rest of us about the importance of embracing the comfort of our Father's love with childlike abandon.

There is something very soothing about holding a father's sure hand. In it, there is wisdom, strength, assurance that all will come out for the best.

Like children, we wander in the woods of our world, unseen dangers hidden around us. And, especially in a society pockmarked with violent crime and evils of every kind, often those dangers become real, startling, heartbreaking.

Fear can grip us, then, for we are all but children, and we can become lost in its leering wake, flailing for our security pillows in a deteriorating world.

As God's children, we can choose: do we face the fears of this world on our own, with prideful attachment to control, or do we face them with the comforting hand of our Father who loves us with unending tenderness?

Holding on securely

We must grip tightly the secure hand of our Father, who will alone sustain us in times of fear and turmoil, suffering and grief.

Deep in our hearts He has planted the sound of His voice, beckoning us, urging us only to rest in Him for He will always be there to calm all our fears, real and imagined.

And even in the face of our deepest fears-come-true, with childlike surrender we can say not only "I'm glad you're with me," but "Thy will be done, Father" for it is our Father who knows what is best for us even when we cannot see it for ourselves.

Trusting like a child

Choose to trust our Father like a child. Choose to surrender to our Father's will like a child. Choose to allow His hand to carry you beyond the dangers and snakes of this world.

The sooner we can let go of our own control and cling to our Father's hand in utter surrender, the sooner we will be able to open our hearts to God's unsurpassable love that allows us to break free from our fears and fully embrace each circumstance of our lives.

For when we rest in our Father's hands, it is His grace that gives us hope, His comfort that gives us courage, His tender love that defies our comprehension and buoys us up. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," St. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13.

In the face of the fears and dangers that surround us, we must strive to remember -- and to teach our own children -- that we are vessels for God's love and He can change the world through us if we open our hearts, with childlike abandon, to His grace.

"I'm glad you're with me," my daughter said to her daddy as she clutched his hand and he calmed her fears. It's a prayer we children can whisper to our Father in heaven every moment of every day.


Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.