My Dear Two Year Old,
You scared me.
I started to panic. I began doing some self-talk: “Stay calm. Think. Enlist help. Keep the situation from getting out of control.”
But the anger, fear, and “what ifs” were loud. And I could barely hear myself.
As if the shoe shopping hadn’t incited enough anxiety of it’s own, now you were missing. You weren’t just missing. You were intentionally running and hiding from me. You didn’t WANT to be found. The mid-size store felt enormous. What you perceived as a fun place to play, had turned into a gauntlet of dangerous obstacles and the unknown that could whisk you away from me in an instant.
I sent your two older brothers (who never pulled this trick, by the way) out as scouts, hoping that they would not also get swallowed by the racks.
The seconds passed like hours. Though we had been farther apart, I felt further from you than ever.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?
So many thoughts whirled in my head. When I find you, I will embrace you. Then you will be disciplined. I will pull out all the stops. How many ways are there to say, “Never do that again!?” If we knew lots of languages, I would say it in every one of them. Perhaps we should learn lots of languages. If we both get out of this store, I’m signing us up for language classes, you and me.
I left my thoughts and began calling your name. Then listening hard. For a response, for commotion, for a giggle. Anything that might clue me in as to your whereabouts.
I watched others intently. All seemed to go about their business, having their own conversations. No one seemed alarmed or responding as if having seen a young child by herself. Everything kept moving.
When you first ran off I saw you whiz by the front doors of the store with no regard to the sea of cars and people and unthinkable fates that lay just a few feet away. You are fast. If you circled back around without me seeing, you could be there now.
Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger?
My scouts came back empty-handed. The quarter of the store they canvassed was void of lost toddlers. But I also knew you were on the move, and no more time could be wasted scouring the rest. It was time to get help. I began heading to the front. To get security involved. To have them lock down the store. To watch the front door until they could.
My plan: No one could leave until you were found. And everyone will help me.
I was not thinking in terms of hoping that is what would happen. I was prepared to command it.
As I’m heading to the front, on the far side of the store, I SEE YOU. Treasured. Priceless. Beautiful. Loved. Fragile. Naïve to the dangers you face outside of my protection.
Our eyes lock from across the store. And with as much “I mean business” voice that I can muster, I yell your name. I don’t care how many conversations stop or how much shopping is interrupted. I am reuniting with you, and nothing else matters.
Perhaps the time away from me had begun to get uncomfortable. Maybe something or some thought of danger had scared you. Or maybe you just responded to the resolute tone of my voice. But you came. You ran. Straight to me.
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
I embraced you. I whispered to you. I kissed you.
I scolded you. I pulled out all the stops.
But I don’t think you got it until we got home and I began to cry. And you saw my face. And you began to cry. It was then, I think, you finally heard me. I missed you. I was crushed at the thought of losing you. I did not want to be away from you – separated – like that again.
I love you. And it will never matter how far you’ve run, how long you’ve hidden, or how much mischief you’ve gotten into. I will always want you back. I will always forgive you. I will always embrace you.
Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow- not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
We have a remarkable God. He does not fail as a parent, (like me). He does not succumb to anxiety or panic. He does not have to guess at which discipline is best. He is infinitely wise. He sees us even when we don’t want to be seen. The bible says that even the darkness is light to him. We can try to hide from him. We can run from him. We can stomp our feet and refuse to heed his gentle warnings. We can fail him in so many ways. And yet, he does not and will not fail us.
Reflect on this…
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8: 35,37-38
- In what ways do I wander off from God that I think are innocent?
- How has failure kept me from seeking reconciliation?
- What part of Christ’s unfailing love is most difficult for me to believe?
- What posture do I imagine the Lord is having toward me right now?