I had a scare. My children took off into the forest without permission. They didn't take their older sister who could have helped them back. They ran as fast as they could deeper and deeper into the forest. Trying to hide, wanting to stay longer with their friends, they disappeared. I called for them and they did not answer. The search began. My heart pounding, praying they were safe, they hadn't gone too far or gotten hurt falling down the sometimes cliff like terrain. I prayed and wanted them safe, but I was also filled with anger. How dare they run off without permission. How dare they go deeper off the path, knowing it was forbidden. The anger welled up more, as I called to them and they refused to answer, hiding, purposely not wanting to be found. When I did find them my heart was filled with two great emotions; one of thanksgiving for their safety and one of anger. I wanted to grab them and hold them tight, crying over them to never scare me like that again. The other feeling of great frustration filled with disgust. Angry they had disobeyed me and another adult and purposely forged deeper and deeper into the woods with no regard for their safety or obeying, just doing as they pleased. These two emotions waged war inside. How could I show them I love them and I'm so glad they are safe, and yet make sure they get the point that what the did was so wrong.
I wonder, how many times do we run from the path that God has for us, paying no mind to the possible dangers that lie ahead? How many times does God call out to us, crying out in agony wanting us safe and we ignore his voice? How often do we hide from God and his truth, his justice and his mercy because we rather do our own thing? Do we hide in the woods of cyberspace or our business?
I told my kids that just as they went off the right path and I searched for them, that God always searches for us. Just as they had consequences for their disobedience, we too have consequences when we disobey God. Just as I held them and thanked God for their safety and forgave them, so God draws us into his arms, and forgives us.
As I pondered the events of the day I wondered what God might be showing me. God help me not to wonder from you, help me to listen for your voice calling me back to you if I do stray. Thank you God that you protect me daily from things I'm completely unaware of. The longer I parent the more parallels I see between our relationship with our children and God's relationship with us.
What are your children teaching you about Christ today? If you are running, turn back to Jesus, he's searching for you, calling you and desires you safely on the right path.