One thing I miss about living in an apartment is how everything is in close proximity. Our area at grandma and grandpa’s isn’t huge, but it’s laid out more like a house, naturally, since it’s in the basement of one. A long hallway separates the bedrooms and living room. I’m not lazy. I just think it’s a waste of space for a family of our size. Then again, it’s new to me, having lived in tiny apartments for the past 13 years, so I’ll probably change my mind.
One nice thing about the hallway is it gives you a long stretch of crawling space. Over the past month you’ve become a pro, so we don’t pick you up every time we need to get you from one place to the next. We walk ahead and you crawl behind us like a madman.
You have this habit, however, that’s frustrating, mostly because it’s taught me something about myself.
You’ll follow me for a few steps, stop, prop yourself up on your butt, and sit. You look at me with your adorable smile. I beckon you on, but you remain where you are. It’s only when I disappear into another room and call out, “Lewis,” that I hear the rustling of your diaper, muffled palm slaps against the carpet, and your high-pitch battle cry as you charge toward me. Eventually, you round the corner, see me, and then come to a full stop again.
Lewis, last week there were days when my prayer time was truly extraordinary, where I was overwhelmed by a connection, a presence, whatever it is when God seems so close you’re afraid to open your eyes for fear you might actually see Him. Those days, it was difficult to pull myself away to write and get on with my day. I just wanted to stand still, to feel His spirit wash over me, to bask in that confidence and assurance.
The past few days, however, have been quite different. I read a passage of scripture over and over again, each time unaffected. It’s been easy to cut myself off. I’ve written a lot over the past few days.
The bad news is this has been the pattern for most of my life. The good news is I think you’ve shown me why.
When I’m crawling with you or walking right in front of you you’ve no need to rush, no sense of urgency. Your daddy, who feeds you, clothes you, protects you and holds you, is right there. Why would you want to move on when I’m right there with you? You look as if you could sit in that hallway forever, and life would be good.
But you can’t, and it wouldn’t.
There are too many cool things we could do, toys to play with, foods to eat, adventures to be had, that will never happen in the hallway. I can’t carry you everywhere your whole life. I’d be a bad parent. So we’re trying to teach you to follow us, to follow our voices and calls and directions, even when we’re in another room.
I think God does the same thing. There are times when He shows up, right where you are. He lets you know He’s there, that He loves you, and that He loves communicating with you.
But He can’t stay, because you can’t stay. He must move so that you will move.
Maybe, when it seems God is silent and nowhere to be found, really He’s just waiting in the place He’s calling us to next. Maybe that’s the only way we’ll keep moving forward.
Sadly, I don’t always pursue your mom with the same romantic desperation I did when we were dating. I get lazy because I already have her. But, when I realize it I, to quote Otis Redding, “throw it on her.” I do whatever it takes to reconnect with my wife, to keep the Love alive and vibrant, to keep moving our relationship forward.
I think God, the personal, living God, understands this about me: He shows up right where I am, shows me He loves me, and then He moves on to the next place, creating that desire for more, unwilling to let the relationship become stagnant, eagerly anticipating my arrival so He can start the cycle all over again so that He and I are always moving forward.
Lewis, I hope the next time I feel God’s absence I’m faithful enough to thank Him for where He’s taking me next.
I love you, Lewis. God loves you more.
Do find yourself in this same rhythm?
What if you learned to see it as God keeping the relationship alive, instead of Him abandoning you?
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