In 1987, I left Wyoming to go to college in Texas, and it was a great adventure. But now that we’re looking at colleges for that 6’ baby boy of mine, I think leaving town to go to school sounds stupid. Don’t you think he should live at home forever and go to our community college? Humor me with a yes.
Loving people who live far away is hard.
Like my mom and that 12-hours of highway and interstate that are in between us. That distance has always pained me but now more than ever since she is lonely without dad. I was finding myself worrying and grieving that I couldn’t be with her all the time.
Until God convinced me he was taking care of my mom there.
I came to these questions in my Bible reading today, and they are declarations:
“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away?
Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord.
“Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:23-24 NIV)
There’s a protective feeling in us that wants to keep people close, so we can take care of them.
I remember the day I took my firstborn to kindergarten, and she was gone for three hours without me. Three hours that I wasn’t deciding what she would do and what she would hear. Three hours that I wasn’t deciding who she could play with. Then three hours turned to all day, and all day turned to five weeks before she would visit from college, and now she is off and married.
We need to know that the people we care about are being cared about when we’re not with them.
What a comfort, then, to believe God is far away at college with our kids -to know God is near to our grown-up kids’ homes.
God sees the person we love. He sees they’re upset before they ever shed a tear over a Skype call. He sees they’re in trouble before we get a text. He sees the balance in their checkbook and the anxiety of their hearts.
God fills the earth.
Fills the college dorm room.
Fills the work place.
That means in order to have peace of mind we have to be people who, instead of acting to meet needs with our hands, act to meet needs with our prayers.
Whatever we wish we could do for our far-away person we have to ask, with confidence, that God would please do that goodness in our stead.
Of course, God can take care of people better than we ever could. He is more present and more capable and has more resources than we have. He loves better and has more compassion than we can show.
It’s something to trust God with our own lives. It’s an even greater act of faith to trust him with the life of someone we love deeply.
Do you believe God is nearby and far away?