My Dad took me on a lot of dates when I was a little girl and those memories still stick with me today. Breakfast was, as it is now, our date-of-choice so we went to Waffle House where dad shared his love for hashbrowns with me and I discovered “pee-can” waffles. After Waffle House, we would head across the street to Burger King, Dad would order mini cinnamon rolls for us while I played on the indoor playground. But my Dad did more than share his love for hasbrowns with me on these sweet dates, he used this time to invest in me and make one very special promise. At some point, I can’t remember when exactly, he taught me to say four magic words whenever I was hurt, scared, or confused. “Daddy, I need you,” was all I had to say in order to have him by my side, helping me in any way. As I grew up, he continued to reiterate this promise, reminding me that it did not have an expiration date and, especially as I entered college, it was not limited by distance.
I’ve said those four words more times than I can even remember. They apply to all situations, like falling off of my bike when I was six to rescuing me from sleepovers in my teens to coaching me through multiple college major changes. Most recently, his fulfillment of that promise looked like driving me back and forth from Milledgeville multiple times when I got a concussion during my senior year of college. I know that no matter the time of day, the distance between us, or the absurdity of the request, my Dad has my back.
The promise he made me makes me feel secure and loved, but I think it did more than he even realized it would. See the thing is that my Dad’s promise to me is a beautiful reflection of God’s promise to His children. In Isaiah 41:10, God says to His people, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God says cry out to me and I will help you, which is just like what my Dad said to me. From an early age, my Dad taught me that it is okay to ask for help because there are a lot of things I can’t handle myself. There’s also a lot of problems that my Dad just can’t solve because he’s great, but he’s not God. God is with me always guiding my steps (Psalm 23) and He knows every day that has been formed for me (Psalm 139).
I take comfort in the fact that I can go before my heavenly Father with the same words Dad taught me. This can be difficult for me at times though because I like to be in control; I tend to try and do things on my own rather than ask God for help. I forget the lesson my Dad taught me and think well if I just have more time to think about it or if I can just complete this one task, then everything will work out. But that’s a lie, I cannot possibly live my life without God; I would fail miserably. “Father, I need you. You are strong where I am weak and perfect when I am sinful,” has become a constant refrain in my prayers especially with college graduation only a few months away. God’s plan for my life is perfect and He is where my joy comes from so I must humble myself and ask for help even if the solution won’t be as easy as giving me ice cream after I fall off my bike.
The next time you feel hurt, scared, or confused try praying and saying, “God, I need you.” Because doors are going to close, people are going to die, and you’re not going to know what comes next, but there is someone who does and He is the ultimate healer and protector.
P.S. Dad, if you’re reading this, I love you very much.