I remember well the days of sending my little sweethearts to their beds to be alone with their thoughts. My anger burned as I saw them choose foolishly, disregard my instructions or just not think at all. It was better for both of us to be apart for awhile. I wasn't far. I could hear their selfish utterances and sighs. I'd be there in a broken heartbeat if their life was threatened, but our closeness was hindered. Their very natural sin bent caused the distance. My desire for goodness and true love for their soul could not allow for tolerance or ignorance. Although tempted, sacrificing our "unity" wasn't worth it. Prayer, patience and faith waited it out. Eventually, those little hearts would melt, the Spirit would speak and misery would draw us back together again. Sweet forgiveness and reconciliation.
Those baby steps lead to larger, harder leaps in the teen years. The timeouts became groundings. The relationship strains were a little more frightening and the prayers got a lot more passionate...because the stakes were higher. The time outs were not always in the safety of their little beds, but in a lying, merciless world. Out of my control. Our relationship wasn't the apple of their eye anymore. Faith is tested hotter in those years. It's easy to see why so many teens don't believe anymore. It's so difficult to allow our kids to struggle, but the struggle is the cure:
"I will go away and return to my place
Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me."
In their affliction. There can be no relief without pain. It's a truth that just won't go away...it's for everyone and for all time. For all ages and relationships.
My husband's doctor recommended a book to us as he underwent the surgery to repair his leg from a serious chain saw accident, a few years ago. It was called "The Gift of Pain" which tells the story of Dr.Paul Brand's years of working in a colony of Leprosy patients. How the absence of pain leads to desensitivity and death. We willingly mask pain to avoid another kind of pain, but end up worse off.
"Their deeds will not allow them to return to their God.
For a spirit of harlotry is within them.
And they do not know the Lord."
Our deeds lead us away from God. Our unfaithfulness to Him...because we think we know Him, but don't. Knowing Him is everything. Nearness is the blessing. Of course, He promised He would never leave us nor forsake us...but within that promise is a measure of closeness. We can be in a relationship with someone that will never change, but the quality of it does.
If I am experiencing distance from God, maybe He has drawn back form me...taking a time out...because I am not seeing Him as He is or my deeds are betraying Him. I'm still His, but our relationship is broken.
Return to His precious side by truly seeking Him.