Monday, March 11, 2013

I Will Never Leave You Nor Forsake You

Jono was left alone in our house on Friday. For maybe 4-5 minutes. Beth called me at work, from the school, with urgency in her voice. She had just realized this possibility, had left her phone in the car, and hadn’t yet touched base with the person who drops Jono off on Fridays. Thinking out loud on the phone, she figured the driver would either drop him off at the home of one of the other car pool children (whose family we know well), or else take him home until he could be picked up. No car in the driveway would likely tip off this response, but she couldn’t be sure. So, she hung up to go and get her phone. I hung up and called our house. No answer. I started talking on the answering machine.
“Hi Jono, if you’re there and can hear daddy, can you pick up the phone? It’s okay. We’ll be there real soon. Don’t worry. Are you there, buddy? Can you pick up the phone? If you can’t find the phone, can you go get a pen or pencil from the holder on the refrigerator? Then take down this number and you can call me when you find the phone.” (Beep! The answering machine cut out before I could give the number. Ugh!)
Just then Beth called. She said that he was in fact dropped off, which meant he was home alone. Something that has never happened in his little 6 year old life (in case you’re wondering). I immediately bolted out of my office and jumped in the car. Thankfully, we live only 3 minutes away. I started calling the house on my way. Busy signals. Busy signals?! We have call waiting!

I pulled in the driveway and burst in the front door and there was Jono, with a hesitant smile on his face. We met in the middle and I gave him a big hug. He was trying to keep a stiff upper lip, but it quivered a little. I explained the whole thing. He had heard me talking on the answering machine. He was going to try to call, but he “couldn’t remember the number” (voice cracking). Beth had been talking to him on the answering machine when I was trying to call on my way home. Thus the busy signals.

As I held Jono on my lap and talked to him, a text came to mind and hit me hard. I wanted to share it with him. But I hesitated.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”(Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:4
How do I tell him this glorious truth? One I feel I have just misrepresented?

"Jono, Daddy and Mommy aren’t perfect, and we are going to make mistakes. But I want you to know that we will never intentionally leave you or forsake you. As soon as we realized what had happened, mommy called daddy right away and I came running so you wouldn’t be here alone and wouldn’t be scared.

But I want you to know that God doesn’t make mistakes. And he will never leave you or forsake you.”

Then Jonny said,
“I knew that He was with me.”
We are not like God. We make mistakes and are ignorant and forget and can only be in one place at a time. But God is omnipresent. He never forgets. He’s knows everything. And he never makes mistakes.

Oh, how strong my desire was that day, as Jono’s father, to never leave him or forsake him! And I wanted him to know it!

Tracing this earthly father beam back up to the sun, my failure became an opportunity. An opportunity to feel the force of the fierce faithfulness of my Father’s heart. If this was my heart toward Jono, mine being merely an imperfect echo, what must be the strength and tenderness of the Source? And does not my Father want me to know?! Of course he does! He said so. He did so.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The Son of God was forsaken, that the children of God might never be. See him bolt out of heaven and rush indomitably toward Jerusalem to do the work of fierce faithfulness. Then hear the omnipotently tender promise of your heavenly Father, blood-bought and unshakable. If you are a child of God, you are not alone. You are never alone.