Our Lord wants to know that when trouble arises or life quickly shifts, He will see our faith just as He left it. We spend numerous hours in prayer, reading God’s Word, listening to Christian radio, soaking in teaching at church, and being in fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. So with all that, it seems that God would be able to look upon us and see us so full of faith we can weather any storm with valiance. But sometimes we allow our tower of faith to be brought down to rubble in a few short strikes from everyday life. It looks a lot like the scenario of a parent shopping with a child in a grocery store.
Every parent has experienced wheeling through a supermarket with a small child or children in tow. The familiar admonition is always, “Stay right here where I can see you. Don’t wander off.” But what happens to probably every parent in America? The frantic Mom or Dad turns around and their little one is nowhere within sight or reach. Racing the aisles, the clueless child is found looking euphorically at a box of Cracker Jacks, or container of Fruit-Roll Ups, or a bracelet somebody dropped on the floor. That parent knows that the safest place for their child is right by their side. They can answer (or at least try to) all their children’s questions – Mommy, how do you make cereal? – and keep them away from hazards they cannot yet discern. So it is with our Loving God.
Although His eyes never leave us and He knows all our comings and goings, and every meditation of our hearts, He essentially looks around and sees we are not where we were before. We have left His side.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” -James 4:8
Away from the Lord’s guidance and spiritual nourishment we very quickly lose our strength and focus. We do not easily sidestep dangers to our soul because our spiritual reflexes are slow. Apart from Him the world looks bigger and stronger than the power He has to change things. We lose accurate perception of what our problems really look like and Who holds everything in control.
That is why God beckons us to stay near Him. He is omnipresent and never diminishes in power. The only change that occurs is in our view of Him once we have drifted away. But, just like that frantic parent calling their child’s name in the grocery store, God pursues us with His love. He sees us off on our own, vulnerable to dangers, and in His perfect way He gathers us back to His side. Where we belong.
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” – Gospel of Luke 15:4