They hadn’t been with us in almost two years.
When you’re young, people are easily forgotten in that timeframe. Being a relative doesn’t matter if there’s no sense of trust and safety.
When my son’s family came for the holidays, their three young boys took some time to warm up to us. We had only been present with them over Zoom, so we’d become faces without feelings. We weren’t as real as their Papa and Nana in Pennsylvania, whom they saw constantly. Our existence was understood; our closeness to them was questioned. Rather than just Papa and Nana, they had to distinguish us–we were Papa and Nana Rogers.
It felt so formal.
After being with us for more than a week, they began to warm up. We could talk to them, give them hugs, race cars and kick soccer balls with them.
We babysat them the last night they were here and saw them relax.
As an adult, we forget how much we need to feel safe when we fall asleep. When their eyes were all shut, I felt like we’d crossed a bridge of connection.
Until right before they left.
As we were giving hugs and saying goodbye, Mack, the littlest one, said, “I miss Papa on the farm.”
We’d become somewhat safe, somewhat close. But their safe place was still back in Pennsylvania with those they spent the most time with.
That’s a tough place to be when you care for someone.
People everywhere haven’t felt safe lately. The pandemic is ramping up, and even though vaccines are becoming available, it feels like too little too late. Political unrest shakes its shaggy head, and everyone holds their breath to see what will happen next.
Uncertainty is our understood word for the year; because we have no idea what is coming next. We can anticipate and hope, but we have no control over what will come tomorrow.
Our souls long for safety, to have a place of refuge in the current crazy of life circumstances. People will always disappoint us. They can help, encourage, and empathize with us, but they can’t save us.
Only God can.
It fascinates me that people think these really are the worst of times. That we’re experiencing pain and suffering as no one else ever has before.
A quick glance at history tells a different story. Suffering and loss have been around since the beginning when man chose to go his own path apart from God. We don’t have to go back that far; remembering the twentieth century and its wars, diseases, and cast of horrid people reminds us that life is hard and uncertain.
Jesus came that He might be our Fortress. He is with us when all of life feels like a cosmic bully.
If we ask Him to come alongside us.
He doesn’t make the hard go away. He gives us hope and peace in the midst of chaos and pain. In the constant storms of life, He stands with us, calming our hearts.
Safety isn’t a location or armament to fight battles.
It’s the Person who is always with us, always loving us, through all our battles.
The better you know Him, the safer you’ll feel.