February 16, 2013
The other day my oldest son went camping with a friend. For him the idea of being out there in the elements is a thrill and a challenge and he wants to continue to find new opportunities to test himself against nature. I trust his judgment.
This time, I knew he and his friend were about 30 miles away – not a big deal. They had food, warm clothing, and all the gear needed: all but one, the tent. It was not an oversight, it was intentional, they wanted to sleep out under the sky. He had done this before.
As night fell into the dark, small hours of the morning, the winds picked up, the temperatures began to fall. And I was awake thinking about my son. I really wasn’t worried. But every time the winds would gust to 35 or 40 miles an hour, with temperatures in the thirties, my mind would imagine my child, out there, in the darkness and the cold, balled up in a sleeping bag, waiting it out for dawn. In my mind I was thinking he was fine – with my heart I would pray, “Father, keep them safe. Keep them from stupid, too”.
The winds continues to howl, the night grew colder. I kept waking up.
I considered sending text messages: “hey, u ok?”, or “be smart”, or “call if u need, love u”, but I had a hunch he wouldn’t respond.
The morning brought him home as planned as I was expecting that outcome. But underneath it all, there was a happiness and a little relief that the trip was a success. My son was home. He had a great time and wants to do something probably even more challenging – ugh.
How many of us feel like this – only spiritually apart from our father in heaven? At times I can feel like my son, spiritually, out there, with the world swirling its icy grip around me. The cold darkness of distance away from a love that never ends can make time seem to stand still – waiting for some glimmer of hope, a promise of a dawn of a new day?
Immanuel, God with us. God is here, never taking His mind off of you. Always concerned, infinitely more than I could demonstrate the care I have for my own child. At any moment available to come to my aid, ready to rescue me, to bring me in to where I can find warmth, a table, fellowship, and rest.
If you’re out there, feeling like you’re balled up in the bag, just hanging on, there are promises for you.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Like me on that bitter, dark night sending texts messages to my son, God is sending us messages too. Sometimes I answer and sometimes I don’t. I’m wanting to do it on my own, and the truth is, I usually suck at it, and screw it up.
Today, if you’re feeling lost, there are some messages that have been sent to you. Don’t do like I do, too often, respond and dawn comes sooner.
Where are you right now? Balled up in a bag somewhere, waiting it out? Are you desperately waiting for someone to rescue you? Would you accept it?
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