FFH - Found A Place - Devotional #9
- Thursday, March 02, 2000
In God's Back Pocket
by Jeromy Deibler
Read Matthew 16:24
Some of my fondest memories growing up are of the two weeks each summer that I got to spend with my dad. It was the time when he took vacation from work and we spent fourteen days together - just him and me. One of those two weeks was always spent at the beach in Wildwood, NJ about three hours from our hometown in PA. It was a tradition. We even stayed at the same hotel every year because they had a pool on the roof and we thought that was pretty cool! We would eat where I wanted, play putt-putt when I wanted, and swim when I wanted. I was king, and it was ok with him.
The coolest thing about Wildwood was the boardwalk - a two or three mile stretch of plank walkway on the beach with ocean on one side and endless shops, rides, and arcades on the other. Dad and I spent lots of time and money on that boardwalk each year and have nothing to show for it but memories. But that's ok. Since I didn't live with my dad full time, he didn't make me abide by too many rules. But on the boardwalk, amidst the hustle and bustle of the summer vacation crowd, there was one think he always made me do. Strange as it may sound, he made me keep my hand in his back pocket at all times. I suppose it was better than holding hands, but none the less it was a little strange. Dad told me that if he could feel my hand in his back pocket he knew I was ok. However, he knew that among all the mess there was a chance that we may get separated, so he gave me special instructions in case that ever were to happen. He told me, if I was to get lost, to stay exactly where I was and he would realize that my hand had slipped out and retrace his steps to find me. I paid little attention to the instruction, not thinking it would ever happen. Guess what it did.
One afternoon, while blowing some money at one of the many boardwalk arcades, I looked up to realize that my dad was not right next to me where he usually was. I looked around in several directions expecting to see him close by, but when I didn't find him, panic set in. It's one of the most terrifying feelings I ever experienced as a kid. If you've ever been lost (or thought you were lost) you completely understand. Suddenly my heart sank to my stomach and tears started to run down my cheeks. I was a lost, scared, eight-year-old. I did exactly what my dad told me not to do and began walking aimlessly in several directions. I chuckle now at what I must have looked like. A chubby kid, sobbing for his daddy, walking clumsily with no apparent destination. It seemed like hours went by (I think in reality it was less than two minutes) until I heard my dad's voice calling my name. "Jerm, it's me, it's ok. I'm here, you're fine." It was a feeling I never wished to feel again. My hand stayed securely in my dad's back pocket for the rest of the week.
The Lord never tells us to walk alone. He never says "go ahead and I'll follow you from behind." He tells us that He will guide the way and that all we have to do is follow Him along the path He lights for us. He tells us, in a round-about sort of way, to keep our hand in His back pocket at all times and He will lead us through the crowded boardwalk of life. But so often we leave the Father's protection and stray out on our own. After a while we look around to find God and realize that we have strayed far from Him and His will for our lives. At that point we begin to walk aimlessly in distress, crying out for His help.
Fortunately God has promised us that "He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5)," and if we "draw near to Him He will draw near to us (Jas 4:8)." He hears our cries for help and runs to meet our need saying "my child I'm hear, it's fine."
Is your hand in God's back pocket today? Are you following Him so close that when He walk, you walk, and when He stops, you stop? Or have you strayed from God's will and lost contact with the Father? God never asks us to lead, He just asks us to follow.
"Lord Jesus, help me to stay close behind You, close enough to have my hand in Your back pocket. Never let me stray from Your sight or from Your path. Lord Jesus, draw near to me today."
For further thought and discussion
1. Is your hand in God's back pocket so that where He goes you go?
2. Are you lost, calling out for the Father? If so, He will find You and lead you to Him.
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