“…How good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.” (Psalms 73:28 NLT)
I really enjoy feeding our mare, Cheyenne, because it gives me the chance to watch her new foal. Yesterday as they pranced towards me, I noticed that her foal stayed so close to her that their skin was in near constant contact. It was obvious that this tiny foal felt safer just by feeling her mother next to her. As long as she was near momma, she was home. Whenever Cheyenne changed direction, her foal would feel that brief loss of skin contact and would adjust her own direction so she could stay in close contact with her mother. While observing this, I was struck by the realization that we Christians should be much like this foal. We must constantly stay in such close spiritual contact with Jesus that if He moves, we move as well. If He stops, we stop because as long as we are close to Him, we have that fantastic feeling of being “home.” The children of Israel experienced this during their decades long journey in the desert. God stayed close to them in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night. When God moved, they moved. When he stopped, they made camp. He protected them. He fed them. He loved them. They were home when they stayed close to God. Today, we stay in contact with Jesus through daily reading His words in the Bible, prayer, and through consistent worship and Bible study with other Christian believers. Doing these things allows us to understand what it feels like to be closely, spiritually connected to God. This requires more than an hour on Sunday….more than mealtime and bedtime prayers. It’s daily, even hourly, living so close to God that our spirit learns to sense when He is moving.
Although Cheyenne is comfortable around me, my movement sometimes frightens her foal. The world is scary and big in her new eyes! Whenever she feels frightened by my presence and starts to run away, Cheyenne looks at her and very softly, almost inaudibly, neighs at her, calling her back to her side. At the sound of momma’s voice, her foal immediately looks less tense. She stops her fearful flight and returns to her momma. Like this fragile and easily frightened foal, so many things in life can cause us to carelessly fly in directions away from our Savior. He doesn’t get angry at us when this happens. We shouldn’t see Him as this angry God waiting to strike us down at the smallest misstep. Instead, He is the loving Savior who gently, and quietly calls us back to His side so He can protect us and lead us where we need to go. This reminds me of a hymn we sometimes sang in church when I was a child: “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me; see, on the portals he’s waiting and watching, watching for you and for me….Come home, come home….” He loves us so much and tells us, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (Isaiah 49:16 NIV). What a fantastic verse to consider as we are about to enter Holy Week when Jesus entered Jerusalem knowing fully what He would suffer just to rescue us from ourselve, ensuring that mankind could finally fully enjoy constant contact with God. May we all remember to speak with Jesus today. Ask Him to help us stay in close contact with Him and thank Him for always calling us back home to His side. If you are reading this and you don’t know Jesus, know that He is patiently calling your name. He loves you. Answer His call and run to Him rather than away. You will not regret it.