This summer Ashley and I had the opportunity to travel a bit. It was an awesome blessing and as always, a fun adventure discovering new places. I must take this opportunity to recommend Groupon to anyone looking to see some awesome sights but also not looking to break the bank. Groupon is the way to go for awesome deals.
Anyway, one of the historic sights that we had the pleasure of seeing this summer was the famed Notre Dame. To say that the historic cathedral was awesome seems a bit cliché, but it truly was. I remember standing in front of it and reflecting on all the history and attention to detail and feeling overwhelmed by the grandness of it all. Quasimodo’s home was beautiful on the outside and incredibly interesting on the inside.
–Quick note- Ladies, be sure to wear something that covers your shoulders otherwise you will be turned away at the door, even if your dress is more modest than most…So after we bought Ashley an overpriced scarf from the souvenir shop next door we were back in line waiting to get in.
It is what happened in line to get in that stuck with me more than anything else that day. We were waiting in this incredibly long and twisting line when all of a sudden I heard crying. Actually, it wasn’t crying, it was more of a guttural, panicked weeping. I looked around and saw the source, a terrified little boy no older than 10. He was frantic as he ran in circles. Tears and snot dripped from his face as he desperately looked for his parents. Immediately, Ashley and I were looking for some sort of police officer that we could connect this lost boy with. There was nothing we could think to do, we didn’t speak French, but it was clear this boy was lost and clear that he was petrified.
But in an instant, all my concern drifted away because I saw his dad. Of course, I didn’t know the boy or the family or anything about them, but I knew it was his dad. The look on the man’s face said it all. A mix of concern, compassion, patience, and love. The father patiently waited, no more than 20 feet away for his son to finally see him. Not more than a few seconds later the son did see his dad and ran as fast as he could to him. The boy disappeared into his dad’s arms and the dad spoke softly to his son. Then after a few moments, the father stood his son up began to reprimand him. Again, I don’t speak French, but as a son who has earned his fair share of reprimands, I know one when I hear it, no matter what the language.
Watching the whole experience rocked me. This boy was absolutely terrified to be away from his father, unable to hear or see him. I remembered times in my life as a believer where I drifted in my relationship with God. This must be a picture of how believers should react when they walk out of step with the heavenly father. I emphasize must, because unfortunately, far too often we as believers ignorantly wander away from our loving heavenly father and don’t panic when we realize just how far we’ve gone.
Let’s be clear on two things. First, we should not wander from the love, care, kindness, and mercy of our God. Never, ever. However, the reality is that we are still human and need Jesus on a daily basis. Without constant dependence on Him, we are prone to listen to the lies of the enemy.
Second, once we have trusted in Jesus Christ for our salvation nothing can separate us from His love, not even ourselves. Romans 8:38-39 reminds us of that truth. We have an assurance of our salvation. We have God’s promise that “He who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) He guards us for salvation and guarantees our faith. (1 Peter 1:3-9)
Even in the midst of that, we are still capable of quenching the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. When we quench the Spirit, before we realize it, we have wandered to a spot where it is hard to see and hear our heavenly father. And that spot should be the scariest place of all.
When we do find ourselves lost in the crowd and being of the world not just simply in it, we need to be terrified. The scariest place on earth is the place where we cannot hear, feel, or see the presence of God.
However, there is hope! Those very promises shared above should be a constant reminder for us of the assurance that we have in our God. Even when we do not feel Him, He is right there. He never ever will leave or forsake His children. Just like that father in front of Notre Dame, God is patient, compassionate, and loving towards us. Even when we act like terrified children.