Do you remember the first panicky moment when, as a child, you lost sight of your parents in a crowded place? I don't recollect the exact incident, but I'm sure we were probably in a crowded Rich's department store.
I was probably playing among the circular racks of women's clothing when my mom moved on to a different section of the misses department. Or I may have been lagging behind my dad as he looked at uninteresting power tools or electronics. Or maybe I was fixated on the caramel cakes in the bakery (remember when they had bakeries in department stores? I know, I'm old.) and they had moved on to the candy counter to buy chocolate covered peanuts and malted milk balls. But wherever I was and whenever it was...I'm sure I panicked.
Similarly, I panicked for about an hour or two this morning. I couldn't find my parents, who, by the way, live 2,000 miles away to begin with and don't generally tell me their schedule each day. Still, I had called all three of their phones yesterday, to no avail, and again this morning. It wasn't like them to disregard my calls and messages, so by this morning I felt like a little girl whose hand had slipped from her daddy's strong grip. I was fretful.
When I sent texts to my brother and sister-in-law, who usually know my parents' whereabouts better than I do, my fears were only confirmed. They didn't know where they were either.
I busied myself with daily chores and resisted the temptation to call other relatives or family friends. I didn't feel like I really had the right to panic to that degree, since I live 2,000 miles away and don't normally keep my parents on a short leash.
So I was greatly relieved when my Dad called me around 8:30 this morning. And sure enough, he and my mom are right where I suspected they might be...in the deep, mountainous woods of northern Alabama, visiting family...where cell phone reception is sketchy and minds are on other things besides checking in with grown kids.
My Daddy's warm, cheerful phone call was so much better than the canny, mysterious voice you and I heard over the department store's speaker system: Would the little blond-haired girl who has lost her parents please find the nearest Rich's employee and stay put in their presence? That voice didn't comfort me; it intimidated me and made me afraid to turn myself in. But my Daddy's sweet voice called me back to my senses.
Have you ever felt like you have lost contact with your Father in heaven? I have. Whether I felt separated by too much time spent on frivolous activities or my sin or simple negligence or just the ceiling above my head, I've known that panicky feeling as well.
But the truth is that while we may lose sight of our Father, He never for one moment loses sight of us. He's not moved on to other things and left us behind. He's not focused on someone else and forgotten to think of us. He's not too consumed with the major events in Ukraine and Washington D.C. to pay us any attention.
He always has His eyes on me...and on you. In fact, He's always searching for me...waiting for me to look up and call out His name. He's always there.
Nothing can separate me from my Father's love:
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Are you panicking today? I have those days when I just feel a little out of sorts, out of touch, out of control. You, too? But there's no need to panic. Instead, remember that your Father still has you by the hand...
With a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Be assured, nothing can separate you from your heavenly Father, not even anything of your own doing. Nothing. Nothing.
Do you hear Him calling you? I do.