My daughter announced victoriously that she had “figured it out!”
She called to us from the top of the stairs, declaring her grand revelation like it was the epiphany of the century.
“I know why Andrew won’t stay in his own room at night! He doesn’t want to be…..ALONE.”
She paused for a moment of true drama and waited for us to applaud her deep psychological assessment.
We thanked her kindly. But, of course, the truth is we knew exactly why my son wanders from his bed at night, every single night. He shuffles sleepily to a new place because he does indeed hate being alone. No grand revelation needed.
He knows it, too. I encourage him every single night to stay in his own bed until morning and he protests right then and there: “But I don’t like being by myself.”
He doesn’t like to brush his teeth alone, or go into the bathroom alone, or play in his room alone, and he certainly doesn’t like sleeping in his own bed and in his own room without anyone else with him as a comfort.
So he perpetually seeks a companion. “Come with me.”
It’s not always easy, being such a relationally focused little guy, when you’re the youngest kid in the family and the only boy.
I’m generally happy and content all by lonesome self. The quiet of “alone” is my comfort.
But my son reminds me to draw in, to invite, to be near, and to value the companionship and comfort of others. He reminds me to look to Jesus, to value and treasure how Christ didn’t keep us at a distance, but instead invited us in. So, now, we never truly “go alone.”
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened” (Matthew 11:28 CSB). He called to a tax collector, to a group of fishermen: “Follow me” and to the rich young ruler, Jesus said the same, “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4, 9, 19).
Jesus is inviting.
Charles Spurgeon writes,
“The nature of the old covenant was that of distance…in sacred worship both at the tabernacle and the temple, the thought of distance was always prominent” (Morning and Evening, 9/15).
Even when Moses climbed up that holy mountain to meet with the Lord, there was a distance and separation there. God said,“Do not come closer…Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).
This distance from God—-could I have endured it? All day, as I wash the dishes, as I swap laundry out of the washer into the dryer, as I pick up children from one place and drive them to another, as I walk and as I work, I share my heart and mind with Jesus.
Friends come to mind. I pray for them. I think of my kids and where they are in their school day. I pray over the class they are in and the friends they are surrounded by.
I ask the Lord to help me and to have mercy on me, to strengthen me for the task at hand, to give me wisdom that I surely don’t have on my own, to bring me favor and to make me fruitful and flourishing.
It’s the all day, every day conversations with Jesus that become my praying without ceasing. I don’t think I could survive a day truly alone.
What if God’s presence now was distant and unattainable? Behind a veiled curtain? On top of a holy mountain? For the priest, but not for the layman? For Moses, but not for plain old me?
Charles Spurgeon continues his thought:
When the gospel came, though, we were placed on quite another footing. The word Go was exchanged for Come; distance gave way to nearness, and we who were once far away were made close by the blood of Jesus Christ”” (Morning and Evening, 9/15).
This changes everything.
When I see my son longing–always longing–to be with, to have time with friends and to be near his family—I feel that challenge to my own heart to treasure and not neglect the nearness Christ offers.
Isn’t it so easy to take it for granted? To strike out on our own until it’s too hard, and then and only then call out to Jesus for help?
And yet, Jesus’s invitation stands: Come. Follow Me. This is the peace we can have in the midst of the everyday and the mundane, as well as the crisis: Christ with us, in us, beside us, before us. Christ nearby so we are never alone.