A few years ago my 3rd grade son had a music program at school. I had done my research, I knew where he was going to be positioned on the risers, and I showed up 30 minutes early to make certain I’d have a good seat. I sat on the second row, directly in front of where he would be standing- literally a straight shot from him to me. As soon as he came into the cafeteria he started looking around the crowd. I could tell by his face that he found his dad- he lit up and gave a little wave to the left behind me where his dad was sitting. Then he got to his spot and continued the “Where’s Waldo?” search, looking for me. I sensed he was getting a little panicked, his eyes darted all around the large room…but he still hadn’t seen me…sitting RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM!! I saw him mumbling, “Where’s my mom? Where’s my mom? Where’s my mom?” He said it over and over again, while looking around the room. He just didn’t land his gaze directly where I was sitting. I kept trying to dart my hand up to get his attention when his eyes were cast my way, to no avail.
A hush started to fall over the room and his face fell. Now he needed to look at his teacher because by this time all of the kids had come in and they were getting ready to start their program. He swallowed hard…I could tell he was holding back tears. Everything in me wanted to stand up and shout his name and say, “Honey!! I’m here! I’m right here! I wouldn’t miss this for anything!” The thought of him believing I wasn’t there to see him perform his special tap dance solo broke my heart! I felt horrible for him.
But just as they started singing he finally saw me. Ironically, when he focused on what he needed to, his music teacher, he found me, strategically sitting right behind her. His face lit up, he gave me a little wave, rubbed his eyes and, as he confirmed later, wiped away the unshed tears. We shared a smile.
And isn’t that just like it is with me and my search for God, sometimes?
Once in a while, I’m scared silly that He’s not going to make it in time to rescue me from my crises. I worry that He’s not going to show up. That He’s not FOR me. I get so panicked looking for him that I don’t see that He’s right there…in the middle of it all. I need to remember that He wouldn’t miss it for the world. And I need to remember that even though I live life with several huge disappointments, He’s still there. In seasons when I’ve spent hours and hours in doctor’s appointments, just to get more bad news…He’s there. In struggles at work, He’s there. During that time several years ago, when my car died, and I still didn’t have a full time job, and my single mom income left me with no options, He was there!! He was there then and He’s here now.
He’ll keep showing up in my quiet moments of loneliness, grief and fear. And when my older sons are far away, a Marine overseas or one on a mission trip to Malawi, and I can’t sleep at night because my heart is so heavy for them, He’s there with them. When my mom was in her final days of hospice care, and I was torn between holding her hand or feeding my kids supper and driving them to marching band practice, I realized He was there with her for her moments when she needed Him the most.
I also know that instead of being concerned about embarrassing us,
When my sweet boy thought I wasn’t in that room to support him for the performance we had spent hours practicing, my heart broke that he felt abandoned by me. But when he saw that I actually was there, and the relief and joy washed over his face, I could see that he was surprised by how important it was to him for me to show up. I’m just like that little kid in the mess of my life sometimes. When God lets me know He is here in my circumstances, when He stands up and shouts, “Hey, you! The one that I love! I’m right here. I didn’t forget to show up because I’m crazy about you!”, it makes my heart sigh with deep gratitude. And I can’t help but think my relief makes Him smile.
‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’