The fat hands of a three year old all covered with dirt from the garden hold up a nectarine, “can I have this?”
He’s been helping his daddy set posts for our biggest yet vegetable crop to arrive this fall, good Lord willing.
I say yes to the fruit and he immediately plops himself, soil covered jeans and all, on my lap. We sit in silence listening only to his hungry slurps followed by eager swallows. You’d think the boy was starving at how he carelessly devours the fruit. No words just chewing, eyes fixed straight ahead, small but chunky hands cupping his beloved snack, dirty nails and juice dripping from his chin.
I stare at him because he’s not a baby anymore and there’s no baby replacing him to stare at. I calculated recently; the first 8 years of our marriage I was pregnant every year for at least a month. I likely have spent weeks by and large staring at each baby over those 8 years. This one a bit longer. (not counting the lengthy moments with the first born). He’s still small enough in my heart to lose my gaze upon, so I do.
His teeth scrape the pit and he spits out the pieces accidentally consumed into my hand. One more slurp and he finally speaks, “God’s with us always?” First words in the past ten minutes and I now know why he was fixated so. His thoughts are a mixture of what he’s heard talked about in our home and what he hopes to be true in his little heart.
“Yes, buddy God is with us always.”
“He’ll never leave us, even at the store?” He further questions. I chuckle at this. Has he been reading the news? Or have I voiced concern over my once weekly outing? Maybe it’s the face mask I hang next to my car keys that’s got him wondering about God’s watchful eye on Thursday’s grocery run. I nod and reassure him, “yes, even at the store, God is with us.”
A 19 year old girl sitting in the windowsill of an upstairs apartment. Pregnant and alone waiting for her boyfriend to arrive from a night of gambling. She’s too young to party, but old enough to be called Mama. Too nauseated to protest and too scared to close her eyes and rest. So she waits in that sill overhanging the main drag watching bars close and staggering college students tumble out onto the forgotten street. All night she waits anxiously humming the hymns she knows by heart,
“Just a closer walk with thee
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea
Daily walking close to thee
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be...”
I wonder at the question now, is God always with us? Even when we’re on a road everyone said not to travel by, is God with us there? In the dark places where sin can’t hide and everyone knows it, is God with us in those places? Or when the window we look out from is built into a house of sin and shame, God’s there too?
Yes and yes.
Jesus took pains to walk roads dusty with sin in search of the sheep once known and now lost. His caring eye peers through the glass of windows where young broken hearts sit waiting for a better tomorrow, wondering how they ended up on this side of darkness. His gaze is fixed on His children like mine is to the boy with the handful of sticky fruit.
We’re never too old for God to hold us in His sight. There’s no age limit on God’s constant loving gaze, no emotional maturity or independence to reach where He suddenly stops watching over us. He’s always with us, He will never leave us, His gaze is as sure as the sun will rise.
So no matter what window you’re looking out of, and let’s be honest we’re all looking out from the sill of windows right now, know you are lovingly gazed upon and desperately sought after by God.
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11