Have you ever lost sight of your child in a crowd? Maybe you were separated for just a moment, but in that one moment, your heart skipped several beats.
There are two lost child moments that stick out in my mind with my own children. Once we were at the San Diego Zoo and walked to the polar bear exhibit. We stood there watching one of the bears amble about, play with toys, and feast on carrots. I turned to one of my boys to ask what he thought, and he wasn’t there. He wasn’t there! I grabbed my other son’s hand and we searched the entire exhibit. Panic rose up in my heart—I felt it in my stomach, my lungs, and my throat where my breath felt like it was stuck. I walked on ahead to see if he went to another exhibit. I turned around and retraced our steps. After ten minutes, he finally came running up to us in tears—which mirrored the ones streaming down my own face.
On another occasion, I didn’t even know I had lost a child until we received a knock on the hotel room door in the middle of the night. Apparently, one of our kids had walked right out of the room while sleepwalking. He woke up somewhere out in the hotel, lost and terrified. In the space of seconds, my mind conceived of all the things that could have happened to him and I felt sick to my stomach.
Moments like those when we are gripped with fear and panic are intense. We are on high alert and would do anything to protect our children. Those moments reveal the depths of our love for our them. But as much as we love our children—fiercely!—it pales in comparison to the love our Father in heaven has for us. In fact, as we consider our great love for our children, it ought to point us to God’s even greater and perfect love for us.
A Father’s Love
He loves us as much as he loves his own Son: “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:23).
He went to great lengths to rescue us: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5). “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
When we wander, God always finds us: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep'” (Luke 15:4-6).
When we rebel, he waits for us with tender mercy: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)
When we are wounded and hurt, he heals and strengthens us: “I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.” (Ezekiel 34:15-16)
There is nothing and no one that can keep us from his love: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
As you consider your own love for your children, whether in moments of panic or in sweet tender everyday moments, remember that while your love is fierce, God’s love for you is fiercer still. And while we may lose sight of him, while we may wander and roam, and while we may forget what he’s done, he never loses sight of us. His is a holy and perfect love. It never gives up and always, always keeps us in his grasp.
Isn’t that amazing?
About the Author:
Christina received her undergraduate degree from Covenant College and her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She writes for a number of Christian ministries and publications including Revive Our Hearts, Desiring God, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and Ligonier Ministries. She is the content editor for enCourage and the author of A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope Through the Psalms of Lament and Closer Than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendships to Flourish. Christina also serves on the advisory board at Covenant College. She prefers her coffee black and from a French press, enjoys antiquing, hiking, traveling, and reading. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two boys. You can find her at www.christinafox.com, @christinarfox and on Facebook.