It has been several years now yet the memory still lingers in the back of my mind as if it were yesterday. I can see his face, feel the shock, the frantic search, the reunion which placed his hand back in mine.
We were at the beach with our extended family. We had finished dinner out and decided we would walk around the quaint town. We were quite the crowd; children paired up with cousins, siblings interspersed throughout the assembly of adults. I began to look around to do my usual child check. Which of mine were with which adult? One by one they were accounted for, that is until I called out his name. No one had Samuel.
Panic doesn’t describe the moment of my discovery. As the thoughts inundated my mind the world around me came crashing down. Could someone have stolen my son? Where could he be? He was only a small child. What had happened to him, how was he not with us? We all walked out of the restaurant together. How could this have happened?
I don’t know that I have ever run as fast as I did that day. I tried to remain calm as the fears crashed into my world. I prayed that somehow, someway he was safe. I hoped that in this little town no one could steal him. I’m not sure I will ever forget that day. I haven’t yet.
As we reached the parking lot we saw him. He was standing beside our car, waiting to get in. How does one relate the feelings of euphoria of finding one who was lost but is now found? I’m not sure there are words in the vocabulary that do them justice.
Samuel had been lost from me. Yet I had found him untouched, safe and sound.
I should have known that’s where he would be. After all he was the child who went to the car without being told when it was time to go. It wasn’t uncommon to find him sitting in his car seat, buckled in, ready. It would have been the same this time had the car not been locked. He had waited patiently for the rest of us to show up and unlock the doors. Somehow he had missed the crowd walking towards the middle of town. He didn’t know he was lost. He thought he was in the right place at the right time.
I knew he wasn’t, so I ran.
My life resembles this in so many ways. Sometimes I don’t know that I’m not in the right place, yet God knows. He sees what I am believing. He runs to get to me, grabs my hand and pulls me back into that place where I have always belonged, to the truth of who I am.
He exposes the religious expectations for what they are. He shines His light into the crevices of my mind exposing the lies of what I have been told and believed about myself. He tells me who He is and who He knows me to be. When I am not where I was made to be, He comes to rescue me.
Samuel did nothing to be rescued that day. He stood by waiting. I came to bring him back. I ran to him. He took my hand and followed me. We walked the path together.
I used to think it is I who ran to God, but the truth is I am beginning to see it is He who runs to me. After all I love because He loved me first.
God runs to get to me every time I am not where I was made to be. I am the Beloved of the Lord. Until I grasp that, He will not relent. It’s not just for salvation. It’s more than that. He constantly runs to me inviting me to live in the new identity that Jesus bestowed on me. I’m still learning what that looks like as He and I walk this together life.
His right hand extends to grab hold of mine.. In those moments I am made aware. My God runs to me, relentlessly He runs.
©copyrighted 2011, Julie L. Todd