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Imagine you are out at the mall with your three children. You do a quick headcount of your kids out of the corner of your eye as you scout the sales rack for the perfect new top.
…one, two, three…no wait…one, two…OH NO!
Where is that third head?
Panic floods your body and the tears fall and you frantically search, only to realize your toddler is nowhere to be found. You grab your other two by the hands and run through the store, screaming for your missing child.
Security is called and a search is underway, but he’s gone. Just…gone.
Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare
Losing a child, be it to death or disaster, is every parent’s worst nightmare.
When you become a parent, your heart is all of the sudden walking around outside of your body. You love them with a consuming love and if they hurt, you hurt.
When there is a rift in your relationship, you grieve. A lot.
God the Father grieved in the Garden. He created the world to walk with them, to be with them. To love them and fellowship with them. And -for now- they were gone. There was a chasm between them.
Waiting…and waiting…and waiting…
Imagine the years have gone by, and every time the phone rings your heart stops.
You wonder if it’s news that they’ve found him. And you wonder if he’s alive or dead.
It’s been what feels like an eternity since you’ve touched his curls while he sleeps or hugged a hurt away. The tears well up as you long to be with him, to hold him, to tell him you love him. You’d give anything to be reunited with him.
The waiting is tugging at your heart and the longing overwhelms you. You are desperate for him. But all you can do is wait. And wait.
You Will Always Be Mine
No matter how long he is gone, no matter how long you are waiting, he is still your son. You didn’t all of the sudden go from being a mom of 3 to a mom of 2 just because one of your children isn’t with you any more.
The same is true of us with God. He is still our God, and we are still His people even though we have been separated from Him by sin.
More than 40 times in Scripture you can find this promise:
I WILL BE YOUR GOD
YOU WILL BE MY PEOPLE.
It was a promise when Israel was becoming a nation, prophets reminded them again and again throughout the centuries (take a peek at Jeremiah 30:22), and it is the final fulfillment of Scripture.
One day a knock at the door interrupts your dinner preparations. You wipe off your hands, pat your graying hair into place as you walk down the hallway, and open the door to a young man who looks vaguely familiar.
As your mind is trying to understand what you’re seeing, your heart is already reaching for him. He’s home. Your son.
You never gave up, and yet it’s still beyond your wildest dreams. You grab him and hold him. The tears are joyous and plentiful.
There aren’t even words to describe your joy at this moment. At last, together. Together again after so much separation.
The Sweetest Promise
My favorite verse in the Bible is Revelation 21:8. It’s not an echo of the promise here; it’s the fulfillment of it. In Jeremiah, he is prophesying to Israel about what will one day come, and it’s a sweet promise.
A beautiful sweet promise that we are His and He is ours. And we will be there in the Garden one day. Together. We will be with Him and be His. And He will be ours.
The dwelling place of God will be with man, and He will once again walk with us.
The sweetest promise.
One of our family’s favorite books is “The Biggest Story.” It goes from the first garden to the last garden. I highly recommend it for sweet times of family discipleship or just plain time together!