First Published July 30, 2012:
Yesterday, we were on our way to drop the kids off at Children’s Ministry at church. Colin and Liam went one way when we were going another. So we called to them to follow us. Liam did, Colin didn’t. We kept calling for him but he wasn’t paying attention, as he often does. So, we decided to teach him a bit of a lesson on paying attention and knowing where we are. Lena kept walking with Liam and Cailyn and I slowly walked back to where Colin was to wait for him and see when he would realize what had happened. He had already left when I got back, but there were only two ways for him to go. One would lead him right to Lena, the other down the steps towards the sanctuary. Either way I knew where he was. I passed by one of the pastors on my way to look and he said Colin had passed by him looking a little freaked out. I jogged over just to make sure I was right and he hadn’t gone down the steps, but it seemed to have worked out. He had found Lena. He was obviously a little distraught, though not as much as I thought he would be. I actually didn’t mean to take it quite so far, I thought he would still be where we left him when I got back, but lesson learned none the less.
So, I’m not writing to tell you all what a mean parent I am. I’m trying to set the stage for what happened next. As I took his hand to reassure him, something came to my head that I felt compelled to tell him. After asking if he was OK, I said, “I knew where you were.” Immediately, as the words were coming out of my mouth, I realized what had just happened. The Lord had used my child to reveal something about His character to both my son and me. As Christians, we are often so hard on ourselves. We think that every time we mess up we lose our salvation and have to regain it. We feel like we have to pray the prayer again and walk up in front of the church again and become a Christian again. The fact of the matter is that we’re going to mess up. When we become Christians, we are no longer sinners, but we do still sin. We fall away. We lose sight of our Father. In a panic we run to find Him, fearing that we’ve lost Him forever. When we finally look up (which is where He resides, so why didn’t we look there first?) we see Him again, and He looks down and says, “I knew where you were.” Our sins and mistakes are no surprise to God. For some reason we think we can fool Him or hide from Him, or that He looks down at the latest thing that we did and says, “Boy, I didn’t see that one coming. I’m going to have to question whether or not he’s saved.” He knew everything you were going to do before you were born. Psalms 139:7-16 says:
7 aWhere can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 aIf I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in 1Sheol, behold, bYou are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will alead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the adarkness will 1overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the adarkness is not dark 1to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
bDarkness and light are alike to You.
13 For You aformed my 1inward parts;
You bwove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for 1I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
aWonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My 1aframe was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the bdepths of the earth;
16 Your aeyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in bYour book were all written
The cdays that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995 (Ps 139:7–16). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
God knew us before we were even born. That mistake you made that you thought made you fall from grace, He knew you were going to do that. It wasn’t a surprise to Him. The key is to confess and repent, not pray the salvation prayer every Sunday. You may have thought you were lost, but as God’s child he knew exactly where you were, and he was waiting for you when you came back. Unlike my situation, where Colin was out of my sight for a few moments, you were never out of God’s sight.
As I’m writing this the Holy Spirit is revealing more of the story to me. The reason Colin was “lost,” was that he wasn’t paying attention. He was curious about something. I don’t know what it was, but it was something that had caught his attention enough to not notice us. I know he should have heard us calling because Liam heard and came. It seems like we are much the same. Something else gets our attention. We’re curious about something and we take our eyes off of God for a moment to see what it is. And He lets us. Sometimes it’s harmless, and sometimes it’s something that bites us. But once our curiosity is over and we realize that we’ve lost sight of our Father, He reveals himself to us again, puts his arm around us, and says, “I knew where you were.”