The airport was crowded. People toting heavy bags stood in long lines, inching slowly forward towards the ticket counter. A little girl of about 3 years old in lime green pajamas and tennis shoes stood next to me. Her straight, blond hair was pulled back in to a loose pony tail. Green eyes peered out from behind wisps of hair that covered a portion of her fair face. She did not smile. She clutched a faded pink blanket that reflected much use and laundering.
Standing next to her was her father. He was muscular and of medium build and wore military fatigues. Strapped to his back was a large, bulging back pack. He toted a duffel bag with one arm. His hair was cut short. He appeared quiet, yet, confident as He stood close to the little girl.
Despite the heavy load that he carried on his back and handled in his left hand, he reached down and scooped up the little girl with his strong right arm. He kissed her cheek and talked gently and kindly to her. She smiled from time to time, but mostly she just stared at him, looking confused and sad.
Perhaps like me, dear one, you are not fond of good-byes -- living them or watching them. They make me cry. Tears pooled in my eyes as I looked at this father, who I surmised was leaving for the Middle East on deployment, and his daughter who clung to him. Good-byes stir up cauldrons of grief, mixed in with loss and loneliness, inside of me. I can feel the depth, the movement and the intensity.
As I’ve replayed this image in my mind the last few days, the Lord continually has brought me to Himself. At times, we can be like a little child. Confused and scared, we try to stand close to Him. We peer out from behind our circumstances, and wonder, “What is happening? Will I be alright? Need I fear or will I be safe?”
Psalm 18:16 says, “He reached down from high and took hold of me …” Our Father reaches down and lifts us up in His strong arms. He holds us close. He lavishes us with love. We may be uncertain and fearful, but God reassures us with His Word and with His presence. As He carries the weight of the world, He embraces us with a confidence that He is in control. He is not going to leave us -- ever. He always has an arm and place of safety and comfort for us; He is trustworthy and faithful to be present and all we need.