One of the things I’ve always loved about God is His nearness, that He’s close by, not distant… as if I have an invisible hand pressed against the small of my back prompting me on.
My memories confirm this… like the time as a 5 year-old little girl, I went with my family to Disneyland. I was riding on my Daddy’s shoulders, walking down Main Street, heading for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The sky was sunny and blue, and I can even remember wearing my Mickey Mouse ears hat with my name written in cursive on the back. So, there I was, riding on my Dad’s shoulders, and I didn’t have a care in the world. I felt safe. Even with the crazy crowds at Disneyland, I felt his strong arms around me and I knew he loved me; I knew he would protect me.
I think this is why I’ve always known God was close. Because my parents loved me and took care of me, I had no problem believing that Jesus would love me and take care of me. But of course, little girls grow up. And I couldn’t live at Disneyland, riding on Daddy’s shoulders.
… … …
Fifteen years later I found myself with another man on a metal bridge in London. Typical for London, the weather was cold and raining, but I was crying. I was with my boyfriend – the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. We had met two years earlier, and our relationship consumed me. I wanted to share his love, his opinions, his plans for the future – we had talked about changing the world.
But on that gray bridge in London, I couldn’t have felt more alone. I don’t even remember what we were fighting about. But I do remember that he used his words to hurt me. They would cut at my heart like a knife. Throughout our relationship he would drop little comments about my hair or my weight – just enough to let me know that he was dissatisfied with me.
On that bridge I realized that he wasn’t who I thought he was, and I was afraid. I know now that God was there on that bridge – close by, but I couldn’t see Him, and I didn’t reach out for Him.
… … …
Fast-forward 20 years… It seems like just the other day, I was walking through the Walmart parking lot with my youngest son, Andrew. Cars moved in and out of parking spaces, so he slid up close to me and took my hand. He just grabbed my hand, but it was like he was saying, “I want to be near you, Mommy. I trust you.” It felt good to be trusted. A busy parking lot can be a scary place to a nine-year-old, but Andrew knew that if he was near me, he would be safe.
I think it’s the same lesson I learned all those years ago at Disneyland with my Dad… and on the bridge in London. I think God is still trying to teach me: “Stay close to me, Julie. I’ll keep you safe. Take my hand, I’ll lead you on”
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. Ps. 73:25
What snapshots from your life tell you something about God? Do you see? Are you listening?