Think about two different scenarios with me.
Scenario One: Imagine you are 13 years old and shopping with your family at a local mall. Your parents have decided to let you test out your independence and have given you freedom within the mall. The only stipulation is that you have to be at a certain exit at a certain time so you can all go home. Well, you start having so much fun you lose track of time and rush outside 30 minutes late. It’s dark. It’s cold. You’re all alone. Most of the cars have gone. Where did your family go? You start looking around in the darkness but gripped by the fear that you cannot see anything familiar. You’re alone. You’re afraid. You feel lost. You feel guilty. You deserve this. You should not have been late. (Not a good picture.)
Scenario Two: Your family decides to play hide-and-seek. After finding everyone else, you are now after the grand prize… your father. He’s so hard to catch. You finally realize He’s not in the house. He must be outside. So, you go into your back yard and start looking around. Even though it’s dark, you’re not afraid. Your daddy is close by. Even though it’s cold, you’re good. Your daddy is close by. Even when you look from place to place without seeing him, you’re not gripped by fear. You actually get more excited because you know you are one step closer to finding him and that’s the fun part. He always grabs you and lifts you up, celebrating your victory. You know he is somewhere just beyond your current sight and he’s smiling at you. Even though you cannot see him, that thought fills you with warmth to keep looking.
Notice the similarities of the two stories. They both find themselves out in the cold, in the dark, and searching for their father. One desperately seeks out of fear of judgement. The other seeks out of joy and expectation. I don’t know which you are right now but I can tell you which you should be.
You are not alone. You are not fatherless. Your Heavenly Father is not mad at you and waiting around the next corner to broadcast judgement. Now, you may have to walk through seasons of darkness for one reason or another but He doesn’t stand in a hiding place depriving you of His presence because He likes to add to your misery.
When you go through dark times, don’t think of your situation like scenario one. Don’t think of yourself as alone and afraid at what your father is going to say when he finds you. He already knows where you are. You are scenario two. Even in dark moments, your Heavenly Father is never far and He’s cheering you on silently. He wants to be found and, when He is, He will sweep you up in His arms and celebrate with you.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.Romans 14:17 ESV