New day. Open eyes, touch cold floor with warm feet, push upright. Consider what lies ahead. Sigh or smile, depending.
And deliberately remind myself that God is here, in my excitement or apprehension or boredom or sorrow. He’s here. More faithful to me than I’ve been to myself. Or anyone else. Needing nothing from me, offering nonetheless his companionship, his guidance, his love. His delight, even.
I am held, nourished and nurtured by the love I cannot see or touch.
I am stubborn and slow to appreciate the steadfast love which never ceases, the endless, endless mercies.
I am held, nourished and nurtured by the love I cannot prove or locate.
I am fickle and quick to dismiss the insistent riff from beneath, from beyond, Limitless.
A story about Jesus. Been a while, eh.
Jesus and his parents have been down to the temple in Jerusalem for Passover. They set off for home, and after a day or so realise that Jesus isn’t with them. They check amongst their friends and relatives, part of the group they were travelling with, but he’s not there. It takes them three days to find him, and when they do he’s at the temple, sitting with the scholars, listening and asking questions beyond his years. When Mary and Joseph challenge him, Jesus asks them ‘Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my father’s house?’
It’s a well-known story. The absent-minded parents, the big crowds, the slightly odd discovery of a twelve-year old boy holding his own with the theologians…It’s cute and quaint and why am I mentioning it?
Because I do it all the time. I leave Jesus behind while I get stuck in my tiny dramas and forget that he’s the main attraction, not me. Invariably it takes a while to notice. Like Mary and Joseph I might wander round asking my believing friends when they last saw him. Unlike M and J, this would just be stalling. I know that I’ll find him in contact with God’s word, where the conversation is still very much alive, as He is. And that is where I tend to look last.
Once my kids are too old to have their hands held, we have a rule never to go out of sight when we’re out together. They mostly remember. Perhaps that’s the kind of distance I am most comfortable with, allowing me to check I’m still walking in the same direction as Jesus is but doing it independently. I know it’s not nearly close enough. Hard to hear the still small voice if I’m only in visual contact.
When my own children realise they’ve wandered too far by themselves and come back for guidance and reassurance, it is good to see them again, even better to walk with them for a while before they inevitably wander off once more. In the spirit of assuming the best, I am going to assume that Jesus takes the same delight in us when we come back to find Him.