Despite the fact that he has never been left and has absolutely no reason to expect me to forget him, one of my children needs constant reassurance that I’m not going to leave him alone.
This summer, I arrived early to pick him up from Vacation Bible School. I took a seat at the side of the room and waited for the session to end. When it did, I moved in his direction. I knew exactly where he was, but the people milling about blocked his view and he couldn’t see me.
I saw him a few seconds before he realized I was there. I wrapped my arms around him just as his face crumpled. I caught him the instant before he let out a wail. He held onto me, his body trembling.
“Where were you?” His tearful voice accused me.
“Baby, I was already here. You couldn’t see me, but I’ve been watching you. I knew exactly where you were the whole time.”
“But I couldn’t see you.”
“Just because you couldn’t see me, doesn’t mean I wasn’t already here.”
Maybe it was because I was standing in a church (I’m kidding), but the Holy Spirit didn’t even let me get the sentence out before He pointed out the obvious.
I DO THE SAME THING.
The Bible is filled with verses exhorting me NOT TO FEAR. Over and over again, He tells me that He will be with me. That He will never leave me. That no matter who betrays me, no matter who bails on me, no matter who breaks me heart, He will be there.
Not only that, but the Bible tells me that BEFORE I walk into that doctor’s office, or pick up the phone, or open the mail . . . No matter what is on the other side of that door, there is one thing I can know for sure I will find.
No matter what my day holds, He is never surprised.
I get caught flat-footed all the time.
I get the wind knocked out of me at least once a week.
I get overwhelmed just thinking about my calendar.
And even though He’s told me 1000 times that He will never leave me or forsake me, when I don’t see Him right away, I panic.
As I held my little boy close, and whispered assurances to him—again—I had a glimpse into my Father’s heart.
I wasn’t angry with my son for his fear. All I wanted was for him to trust me. To be so sure of me, that he wouldn’t doubt for a second that I had kept my word and was waiting for him.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot ever since.
Separation from God was never part of His plan and my guess is that He knows we will fight this fear until the day He returns and call us Home. I think that’s why He didn’t say, “Don’t be scared,” once and leave it at that. I don’t think He’s surprised when He’s standing right beside me, even as I’m wailing for Him to show up, and He has to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention.
Whatever you’re afraid of?
He’s already there.
Whatever is keeping you up at night?
He’s already there.
Whatever has your heart racing, your palms sweating, your tears streaming, your stomach churning?
HE. IS. ALREADY. THERE.
If you’re in a pit and you’ve been wondering when He was going to show up, the answer is that He was there BEFORE you got there. He’s with you now and He’s been there the whole time.
And even if you can't see Him, reach for His hand . . . He is already there.
Deuteronomy 31:8 - It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (ESV)