Last week I was walking through crowds of shoppers on a busy city street, when a man in front of me bent down and whispered to his young daughter, who was walking happily by his side, “Stay close to me!” Every parent knows that feeling of great responsibility born out of a deep love for one’s child. But if we’re honest, are there not times in our lives, when we as adults would prefer to be on the receiving end of a loving parent’s care and protection? Sometimes we pretend that we have it all together, yet inside we are desperate for someone to step in and deal with the situation we’re in.
A number of years ago, I was an outreach worker in the local community, often visiting local people in their homes. One middle-aged man, however, wanted nothing to do with me – not that he knew me; we had never met. He would stand at his front window and shout at me if he saw me nearby. One day a neighbour of his told me that this man’s partner had just left him and taken their young son with her. So I went and knocked on his door. As soon as he saw me, he opened the door wide and showed me into the lounge, where he burst into tears. He was faced with a situation that was bigger than him, and he didn’t know what to do.
In a recent post I began to write about God’s character. Like a good father, and because of His great love for us, He calls us to stay close to Him. No matter how mature we are, or how strong we feel, there will be times when we need someone bigger than ourselves. If that little girl had strayed from her father’s side, she could have got into difficulties, but the good news for us is that wherever we go, our Creator is there. There is nowhere that we can run, tunnel, hide or fly that God isn’t present. As King David once wrote:
“Where can I go to escape your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I live at the eastern horizon
or settle at the western limits,
even there your hand will lead me;
your right hand will hold on to me.”
God is always there for us to turn to. Even so, He still calls us to stay close. That’s because, it’s not distance that separates us from our Creator, it’s the negative things we do, think and say. Thankfully, it was the love of our Creator that took Jesus to the cross, where He dealt with our individual record of wrong by dying in our place, so that we can walk through this life forgiven, accepted and loved, with Him by our side.