Because God’s “Where?” is always “Here!”, the hearts of born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ can rest in assurance and peace.
“I am with you always.”
The little boy couldn’t believe his ears when one evening, his father announced, “Tomorrow, son, it’s time for you to go into the deep, dark woods!”
Many times, the boy had watched his father venture into the vast stand of trees that surrounded the family property. One of the things he loved and admired most about his dad was the man’s seeming fearlessness concerning the dangers that might lie in the woods.
“Uh, Dad, did you say you think I should go into the deep, dark woods?” The boy gulped as he replied, hardly looking at his father because he so feared that he might have heard correctly the first time.
The man replied without hesitation, even smiling as he did so. “Yes, son, tomorrow’s the day. I have no doubt that you’re ready, and I’ll wake you up at the crack of dawn for a good breakfast, and then, a journey into the forest. Your first journey!
The boy slept little through a long, restless night, and he ate even less of the “good breakfast” his father had prepared as the sun rose on what would be a fateful day. “You’re not hungry, son?” asked the father. The boy looked at his dad, feeling too uncertain about things ahead to speak, lest he betray the fear he felt deep within. “No sir, not really” said the boy, speaking barely above a whisper. “I guess I’m just thinking about the trip into the deep, dar… The boy cut his sentence short, not even wanting to say the words.
After breakfast, the father told the boy to gather the things he might need in the woods, and fill his backpack. “I’ll meet you out by the poplars,” he told his son, referring to a stand of hardwoods where an opening allowed entrance into the forest.
When the boy arrived at the spot, his dad was not yet there. This gave him time to look at and into the woods. They were beautiful, no doubt, especially as the rays of the rising sun shone through the branches and leaves. He had loved to view them for as long as he could remember, from a safe distance, and he often lingered as he watched his dad disappear into the forest for his trips. How brave was his father! And how much the little boy felt he was not like him! A sense of shame began to couple with the fear churning inside, and tears formed in his eyes just as he heard his father’s footsteps approaching.
The man reached his son, and put his arm around the boy’s shoulder. “All right, son, are you ready?” The boy quickly wiped a tear and looked up at his father. “Yes, Dad, I think so. I think I’m ready.”
The father replied, “Me too, son. I’ve really been looking forward to this day. There are things in the woods I’ve wanted to show you since the day you were born. So let’s get going!”
As his father began to walk toward the opening in the poplars, the boy stood still, frozen by the words he had just heard. Once again, he could hardly speak, but as best he could, the boy called out to his father, who had already reached the opening. “Dad… Dad, are you going with me?”
The father stopped in his tracks. Turning to look at his son, he smiled and reached out for the boy to join him. “Son, of course I’m going with you! You’re not yet ready for a journey into the deep, dark woods by yourself. Someday you will be, but this is not that day. No, not yet. Yes, I’m going with you into the deep, dark woods. We’re going together, and I’m going to show you things I could never describe to you with words. It will be wonderful, and like I said, I’ve been waiting for this day!” The man looked into his son’s eyes. “Are you ready?”
Needless to say, the little boy was ready. He was more ready to journey into the deep, dark woods than anything he had ever pondered doing. His dad was going with him! His brave, strong father would accompany him every step of the way, and now the vast forest portended not of fear and uncertainty, but rather promised the wonder of discovery and awe. “Yes, I’m ready, Dad” the boy almost shouted. “I’m ready to go into the deep, dark woods!”
So long as we go with our Heavenly Father, it matters not whether we venture unto shining summits whereupon vistas of beauty await our awed eyes, or into deep, dark woods that threaten with seeming peril.Whence we go, we shall not go alone. “I am with you always” promised the Lord Jesus, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). Our Lord’s “Where?” is always “Here!” Thus, we can face anything and everything with the assurance that the Lord Jesus will be everything we need Him to be in every moment, in every contingency, in every venue. Always with us, never to leave us - this is the promise of He who cannot lie. Our response? Yes, Father, I am ready!
“The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.”