Summarize my life in one simple photo and it would be this:
In case you are wondering, that is a picture of my granddaughter, Nora, during her first visit to the Portland Zoo.
For one brief moment, she sort of wandered off by herself. And my dear wife, Rebecca, always at the ready to snap a photo — of which we now have hundreds!!! — caught this Kodak (Are they still in business?) Moment. An ever-so-brief moment in time, forever frozen on her cell phone.
What do you see when you look at that picture?
Know what I see? I see me.
I see someone standing all alone, a crazy world — not unlike a zoo — spinning around me. (Think about what could happen if some of the animals successfully breached some of the fences. Not to mention the human animals roaming free, some of whom — as we are often reminded — capable of committing unspeakably barbaric atrocities against other human beings.)
I see someone looking so very alone, looking so very VULNERABLE. Sucking madly on a binky to try to feel some sense of security in the midst of this hostile and dangerous place.
I see me.
You see, if you’ll permit me just a brief moment of transparent self-disclosure, there are times — more than I would like to admit — when I feel so alone. So vulnerable.
Life can be so cruel. People can be so cruel. “Christians” can be so cruel. And in the midst of the carnage of cruelty, like the little girl in the photo, Yes! I feel so alone. So vulnerable.
Can you relate to what I’m saying?
But here’s the thing. What is not shown in that photo is that at that moment that this picture was snapped, Nora was surrounded by five individuals, standing just out of camera range. Five LOVING individuals who were watching her every move, and who were ready to rush to her rescue and to hold her close if any sort of peril were to befall her.
Surrounded by love. Just like me. And just like YOU.
Truth be told, we are not alone. We are never alone. We too are surrounded. Surrounded by God’s holy, protective angels. And surrounded by God Himself. “Where can I flee from Your presence?” the psalmist cried. Implication? He will not, nor cannot, ever be removed from God’s blessed presence. My question to the Psalmist, Why would you want to (flee from God’s presence)? I don’t. I can’t. Most importantly: I WON’T. EVER. BE. SEPARATED. FROM. GOD’S. PRESENCE.
And neither will you.
The point is, camera’s do lie. Nora was not alone. Nora was never alone. Even though in the photo she looks all alone. Even though at the moment my wife took the picture, she might have felt all alone.
Vulnerable, but never alone.
Just like me. And just like you.
For God has made this promise to me, and to YOU, one to which I cling often: “I will never leave you. I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5).