"One." "Two." "Three." "Four." "Five." "Six." "Seven." "Eight." "Nine." "Ten!" "Ready or not, here I come!" When I was a kid, I used to love playing Hide and Go Seek with my friends. We'd run around the yard aimlessly, searching for the next person to be 'it'. I actually liked being 'it'. The search for my friends wasn't hard at all but I'd pretend it was. I saw the limbs sticking out from under boxes or hear shuffling behind a bush. I would even say "Hey, where are you?" as if I had no clue where they were. The truth is, I knew where each of them were all along. It would be too easy to just reveal their hiding place. I had to let them think I didn't know...that I was clueless to their location. The best part is sneaking up behind one of them to say "I found ya!" They'd take off running for 'base' as if their life depended on it. I'd either run after them or go search for another hiding friend. Hide and Go Seek is one cool game. It's funny how some of the things we experience as a child teach us a lot about life and our walk with God. Many times in our relationship with God it can seem like He's far from you or vice versa. You know the feeling of being distant from someone you love? You can't really put your finger on it but you know things are just not right. Things don't 'feel' like they did. Conversations fall flat. Text messages are left unanswered. Smiles and hugs are disingenuous. You know what I mean? Well, if your relationship with God feels this way, here's some things I want you to know.
God Already Knows Where You Are
There are times when it seems we've messed up or made poor choices. We retreat from God and people who can help us. We say to ourselves things will be okay to cover up the truth. We are hiding. The disobedience displayed by Adam and Eve isn't what caused the distance in their relationship with God. The Bible tells us that the couple heard the sound of God walking in the garden and they hid from His presence. They didn't have to hide but they thought they needed to because of what they had done. The Lord even calls out to the man saying "Where are you?" This reminds me of how I used to play Hide and Go Seek and it was my turn to find my friends. I would often think to myself "Don't they know that I already know where they are?" Do you think God didn't really know where Adam was? He did know. And the truth is, God already knows where you are. The real question is; do YOU know where you are? Are you hiding?
God Loves You
Remember when our parents caught us doing something we shouldn't? The first thing they would say is "Are you lying to me?" or "Did you do what I told you not to do?" Ever wonder why they asked questions they already knew the answer to? I mean come on...we knew we were wrong and so did our parents. Once its established that you're officially 'in trouble', then punishment comes (whatever that looks like). For a moment, it feels like your whole world is coming apart and no one (especially your parents) loves you. When its all said and done you understand that your world isn't really coming apart and your parents do love you.
Understand that God loves you too much to leave you behind the bush or under a box. His love for you is unconditional. Because of His love, God removed Adam and Eve from the garden. They also faced other consequences as a result of disobedience. Listen, when you've messed up you're going to be faced with the results. There will be consequences but on the other side of that is a good, good Father waiting to restore you and show you just how much you are loved.
You're Never Too Far
One of the biggest tricks of the enemy is to make you feel as if you've done too much or gone too far to return. This is a strategic move by Satan to keep your relationship distant from God. If he can keep you from communicating with God, you won't be able to receive forgiveness, restoration and love that only comes from Him. David wrote in Psalms 139:7-8 that there isn't a place we can be that God is not there. He is with us always. Recognize that you are never too far away and you CAN come back. Just as God went looking for Adam and Eve in the garden, He is looking for you. He is looking for you to realize where you are. He is looking for you to come back to Him. He is looking to forgive you. He is looking to love you. He is looking to bless you.
My question to you today is; Where are you? Are you distant from God? Is there an area of your life that needs restoration? Only you can answer these questions. God wants you to know that He knows exactly where you are, that He loves you, and that you are never too far away to return and be in right relationship with Him.
Let's pray together...
God, I love you. Right now, I'm at a place in life where I feel distant from you. I've messed up. I've tried to do things on my own and I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I long to be close to you once again. Thank you for restoring me. Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for your correction. Thank you for being such a good, good Father.