Close-by.

 

When I was in 6th grade, my parents separated. More specifically, my parents came to the decision that my dad would move out. It was heartbreaking for me. You see, I was a total daddy’s girl. When I was younger, one of my favorite parts of the day was when the door leading inside from the garage would open, and I’d hear my dad walk through the hallway, his loafers clicking on the hardwood. He would set down his briefcase in the corner of the hallway, and that’s when I’d make my move. By that time, he’d have both arms available to catch me as I took a flying leap into his arms, and I’d get wrapped up in the world’s tightest hug. It was our thing. And I loved it. 

I’m pretty sure from the moment he walked in the door to the moment I went to bed, I never left his side. I liked to be close to him. With him close by I knew I was safe. I knew if I fell down, or hurt myself in some way, he’d be able to get to me quickly and make it all better. 

But then the worst happened. The “D word.” I still remember my mom telling me in the parking lot of our church, while we were waiting for my brother to come out after youth group. I was devastated. My perfect world was cracking, and one of my favorite people was no longer going to walk through the door, loafers clicking, briefcase in hand. We had to be separated. 

My dad had a clean slate of sorts. He could’ve moved anywhere. He could’ve moved to a new town, he could’ve moved to a new state. He could’ve moved closer to his brothers across the country in Seattle. But you know what?

He stayed close to my brother and me. 

Even though he couldn’t be in the same house, he made it a priority to give his kids a sense of closeness. I don’t think I realized how much that meant to me at the time, but over the years, it became so incredibly comforting to know he was only a few minutes away. He would call every single night when we were apart, and anytime I needed him, he could be there within minutes. 

I’ve recently been reading through a devotional book on Jesus by Beth Moore, and last week one of the readings was on Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3. Throughout his life, Jesus was constantly in prayer and communion with his Father. Although they had to be physically separated, God the Father in Heaven, and Jesus here on earth, Jesus was still able talk to his Father whenever he wanted. 

Then in verse 16, it says the heavens were opened up to Jesus as the Holy Spirit descended in the form a dove. That seems to mean that Heaven was close enough for Jesus to see into [with HUMAN eyes, none the less]. As if somewhere in the sky, amidst the stars, there was an invisible door, that when opened, revealed that Heaven was literally right there. 

God’s original plan was for all of us to be in constant relationship with Him, where we could walk and talk to him on a daily basis. In person. Looking at each other’s faces. Close enough to hold His hand in ours. And who knows, maybe even jump up into his arms. No matter how old we got, or how much we weighed, He would always be able to catch us and carry us around for as long as we wanted.

But then Adam + Eve went and did their thing. (Basically, God said “don’t eat this,” so what did they do? Ate it. And girls wonder why there’s such an emotional attachment to food….thanks a lot, Eve.) And all of the sudden, Plan A wasn’t an option anymore. They had to be separated.

But, although God had every right to say “peace out, I’m done with you,” and then leave us for a new, still-perfect world, somewhere far, far away, where He could just occasionally check in on us, making sure we weren’t ruining our lives by failing out of school or dating the bad boy who rode a Harley and had sleeve tattoos, He didn’t. (And no, I don’t have a beef with motorcycles or tattoos…my dad has a motorcycle, and my husband has a tattoo.)

Instead He simply put up an invisible barrier, all the while remaining close enough to be involved in every aspect of our lives, directing, guiding and encouraging us. Close enough for us to see Him if ever He chooses to open the door between our world and His. (Which He didn’t just do for Jesus…in Acts 7:55, we’re told that Stephen saw into Heaven right before he was stoned.) And while God may not choose to open this invisible door to Heaven to all of us, simply knowing it’s there, close enough to gaze into, is immensely comforting. 

It reminds me that like my dad, God cares enough to remain close. He’s there anytime we need him…just a prayer away, (kinda like a spiritual phone call) and close enough, that at least two humans in history have been able to see directly into Heaven. 

And to me, that’s everything.