Getting Too Close

Getting Too CloseAs I sat by the pool during a recent sunny Saturday afternoon getaway, I noticed a young boy and his father playing the proverbial launch-me-into-the-deep-end game that resulted in the little guy exclaiming, “Do it again!” and, “Higher next time!” as he squealed with devilish delight. The father gladly complied, obviously enjoying his son’s pleasure. After a series of throws, the boy swam away from his dad. Immediately, the dad reached out, grabbed him and threw him up in the air with a smile, certain his son would love it. Well, not only did the son clearly dislike that spontaneous move, he sternfully demanded, “Don’t do that dad!” He swam to the ladder, got out and proceeded to sit on the edge of the pool. Each time his father swam towards him, he moved away quickly. When he would swim away, the boy inched back to the edge. At one point, the father neared the edge of the pool and reached out to grab him but the boy scampered to run away. It was clear the father loved his son and intended only lighthearted playfulness. However, the boy clearly had enough and wanted things to go his own way. It was obvious that he was not thrilled with that last uninvited launch into the deep end – the young boy would see to it that his dad played according to his own rules!

The game, according to me
I have to admit that my interactions with God look very similar of late. I am fine playing the game, as long as it goes the way I want it to go. It is simple, really. When things go according to my plan, everybody is happy, especially me. Then it comes; the unexpected launch. It is the part of life that comes at me by surprise, throws me for a loop and then leaves me flailing. I did not see it coming and I am none too pleased about it either. And, just like the little boy, I usually react by stomping off and sulking. I am perfectly fine on my own, I tell myself. Being caught off guard frightens me. Don’t try to come near me either, because I will just run away. Somehow, I have come to believe that my heavenly Father is playing a game with me. I have fallen for the lie that says he does not care for me and is not interested in how I feel or what I think. The way I ended up here is still a mystery to me, and the way out seems all the more elusive. I want to trust, I want to engage and I long to squeal with delight, but at this moment I cannot seem to muster up the courage, the desire or the will. Why can’t we just keep playing according to my rules?

No answers yet
I would love to tell you that by the time I finished writing this article I had it all figured out. I did not. Here I sit with the same fear, the same questions and the same doubts. I long to get everything straight in my head. My deepest desire is to understand. Yet, I do not really understand much of anything right now. About the only thing I can muster up is this – Jesus loves me, this I know.

Jesus knows
What difference does it make knowing that Jesus loves me? For one, I can rest easy in my confusion. God can handle my questions and my fears. He knows it all. In the midst of this unsettledness, I am greatly comforted by these words from author H.L. Roush Sr. “Here is a friendship where communication will never break down; even when you get sullen and withdrawn, He will search you out and force you once more to the dialogue of love. He will pursue you, talk to you, make you listen and encourage you to pour out the contents of your heart in the assurance that he will fully understand. You need never explain to Jesus. The details are fully known to him before you try.” I can trust my Father with the truth of how I feel. He will pursue me and there is no place too far that his hand will not reach me. That is all I need to know for now.

Lori Harding is Director of Care Ministries and Women’s Support at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. She blogs regularly at

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