San Diego, California. A beautiful place with a relaxing atmosphere. A friend of mine asked me to go and spend the day at the beach there with her daughter and her. Of course I said yes. Who doesn’t love the sound of waves hitting the beach while laying there with your toes in the sand? I am always amazed at how majestic and beautiful the ocean is. And even more amazed at the awesome God that we serve who created all of its beauty. Psalm 95: 4-5 (ESV)
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
My friend and her daughter stepped away to go do something, and so I stood up to brush all the sand off of me. It was in that moment I heard someone behind me yelling, “Where’s Elly!?!” A mother desperately looking for her little girl. I’m not a parent so I can only imagine the amount of anxiety and stress caused by such an event as not knowing where your child is. Her friends got up to help her look and I watched them as they raced down the beach looking everywhere for this little girl.
If I’m being completely honest, I was quite frustrated at first. I mumbled under my breath, “Well maybe you should have been paying attention.” Quickly however, God humbled me and turned my frustration into compassion and I began to pray the girl would be found. Safely. I continued to watch, for what seemed 30 mins, the parents and friends frantically look for Elly. In that time, I realized something that is sometimes true about me, and maybe even you.
How many times have I ran away from the Father? Chased things that look appealing from a distance, but up close are unhealthy for me. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. As I thought about this while watching them search for Elly, I began to tear up. Partly because I was scared for the little girl. Partly because the answer to the question I asked myself was more than I’d like to admit. But more than both of those was this. The LOVE of the Father.
JOHN 3:16. Yes, we’ve heard it hundreds of times and memorized songs as children to that verse. For God SO loved the world. As if there were a DEPTH to His love for us.
ROMANS 5:8 -But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
So while I was off running away from my Father. Christ died for me. While I was having anger towards the mother who lost her child. Christ died for me. While I was being selfish. Christ died for me. When pride got in the way. Christ died for me. While I was partying in high school, living for things of this world. Christ died for me. In my darkest moments. Christ died for me. And he died for you.
Psalm 139: 7-10
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
The difference between the mother looking for her daughter and us running away from our heavenly Father is exactly what Psalm 139 says. Where can we flee from your presence? He knows where you are at. In this exact moment. You may have been running for days, weeks, or even years. There is nothing you have to do for God to “accept” you again. He loves you where you are at. All you have to do is turn around. Paul, the writer of the book of Romans, was convinced. And so am I.