When our children were small we decided to take all four of them to a local water park. I'm not sure what we were thinking, as there really is nothing fun about taking a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and newborn twins to an over-crowded place on a hot day. But there we were. At least we had the foresight to bring my father along as reinforcement.
We actually ended up having a fun time, until we made the decision to choose a final ride and then head home. We went to gather the kids around and explain what we were doing when we realized that our four-year-old was gone. In the midst of all the chaos, he had slipped away from us into the crowd.
If you're not a parent, you really can't fully understand the level of fear and panic that overtakes you when you discover one of your children has disappeared into a large crowd. All sorts of scenarios run through your mind as every story you've ever heard about child abduction springs into your mind. The end result is a burst of adrenaline as you leap into overdrive in an effort to find your child. And it all happens because of one simple fact - you protect what you love.
When we realized our son was missing, my father immediately left for the front gates of the park to have them locked down in case a stranger might try to leave with our son. My wife and I grabbed the other kids, and rushed to the closest security guard. We started to explain what had happened, when another security guard came walking up holding our four year old’s hand. He was perfectly safe, perfectly happy, and eating a popsicle the guard had given him. It turns out, all that talking we did about going to a policemen if you ever get lost had actually been heard - and when our son realized he was not with us, he had gone directly to this guard and told him that his “parents were lost”. To say we were relieved would be a huge understatement.
The reason I bring this story up today is because last night I had dream about that day in the water park. I’m not sure why, but it happened, and I woke up thinking about the truth that we will all do just about anything to protect what we love. We just can't forget them. And as I pondered that, the Lord reminded me that the same is true for Him. He will never forget or abandon what He loves.
Writing to New Testament believers, Jude makes this point clear as he begins his letter with, “To all who are called to live in the love of God the Father and the care of Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:1) In the original language, it would read more like, “who are continually kept by Jesus Christ.” It’s an active, continuing result of something that's already happened. In other words, because of what Christ did on the cross, believers are actively being kept in the care of our Heavenly Father.
So whatever difficulties or challenges we may be facing, we need to know that we are actively being kept in Christ. He will protect us, preserve us, and keep us.
However, in verse 21 of that same letter, Jude also tells us that we need to keep ourselves in the love of God. So while the Bible teaches that God will keep us, at the same time, we must keep ourselves in His love. There are things we need to do on a daily basis to keep ourselves in a place where God can actively bless us, and work in us, and work through us. And that means there are things we need to keep ourselves away from that are unlike Him, which would drag us down spiritually.
God loves us, He won't ever forget us, and He has given the greatest sacrifice of all for us. So today, let's hold on to that comforting promise. And at the same time, let’s commit to doing our part - let's commit to seeking Him while we keep away from things that will put us in harms way.