I don’t know if you’re like me, but I get distracted very easily. The minute I see something shiny on the ground, my mind is now focused on the shiny object and all of my efforts are towards obtaining it. If we were talking, sorry, the shiny object wins. If I see something that I think is funny or cool, I’ll probably point it out then continue right where I left off in our conversation. My mind gets so distracted by the beauty around me. It sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Always pointing out cool things and being so enthralled by the beauty around me? It was nice for a while. Then I started feeling like I needed to see more and more beautiful things. Suddenly, one shiny object wasn’t enough. Then two wasn’t enough. Then three. There was a desperate void that had appeared out of nowhere. It had escaped my sights because I was so focused on something shiny.
The funny thing with shiny objects is that when I finally obtain them, they usually turn out to be something not so beautiful. It’s a bottle cap that happened to catch a ray of sun, a dime covered in dirt, or wrappers of gum. The disappointment comes but before it fully sinks in, something else has caught my eye. As time goes on, suddenly the things that used to be so wonderful seem kind of mundane. I’ve seen that squirrel run up that tree a hundred times, I’ve heard this funny joke too many times or I just don’t think it’s cool anymore. Then the world becomes dull. The colors that once were so vibrant are now gray. The sounds that once made you turn your head is now static. The laughter that once flowed so naturally out of your mouth has turned into a forced chuckle. The eyes that once shimmered are now glass, no longer taking in beauty but only reflecting light. Now, there’s no point in exploring the world. There’s no point in going after the shiny objects. There’s no point in listening to music. There’s no point in watching movies you once loved. There’s no point to anything. Life gets heavy and you begin to drag. Taking steps suddenly changes into lifting tons of bricks. One leg after another, after another and soon you begin to sweat from the effort it takes to walk. When someone approaches you and tries to begin a conversation, your heart rate increases too quickly, sweat begins to bead on your brow and your throat is instantly dry. The amount of effort it would take to smile right now is unfathomable. Nodding your head through the conversation makes you want to sleep for three days to recover. Looking at your to do list is too overwhelming. It’ll be there tomorrow right? Or next week? Or next month? Do I really need to shower or brush my teeth? Nah, it’s fine for one day. One day turns to two. Two turns to three. Things that once gave you joy are now sources of pain because they don’t make you feel anything anymore. Sadness is your companion now and even sadness is quiet. Eventually, the weight of existence is too heavy and the final straw is dropped as the back breaks. You can do nothing but fall to your knees and scream internally.
Why! Why me?! What happened?!
All the while, you kneel paralyzed, staring at the ground in front of you as everything else melts away. There’s no point to living anymore. All you can do is try to will yourself to die quickly so the pain will end.
“I still love you.” The whisper brushes your ear.
No way. He’s forgotten about me a long time ago. There’s no way He could still love me. It’s not like I love Him either. I’m still angry, hurt from being abandoned.
“I never left.”
I don’t believe You. It’s a lie. If God truly loves me, He never would’ve let me come to this point of suffering. He could’ve saved me.
But if He did, wouldn’t He have taken away your free will for just a moment? Making you walk back to God and away from the shiny things would be against His nature of love. He would’ve taken control for just a moment and that’s all it would take to destroy His character of love. He loves you too much to stop you from living out your will.
That sounds so dumb to me. He could’ve saved me or taken away the shiny object or something, right? After all, if He is the God of the universe and created everything, how does one shiny object have so much power over Him? That sounds pretty lame to me.
The object itself never has and never will have more power than God. It simply distracted you for a moment. A moment is all it takes to be distracted and begin your journey away from God. One shiny object leads to another and another and before you know it, you’ve strayed further than you thought. God has become drowned out in the midst of the noise. It sounds overwhelming, almost terrifying to walk back through the shiny objects to get back to God. But the shiny objects never had power over you. Simply choose to look at something else. The glory of God, once you turn His direction, will shine brighter than anything else you will ever see. You just have to look His way and tear your eyes off the other shiny things. The other things are catching glimpses of sun or other sources of light but God is light. He doesn’t need anything to shine, He just needs you to look.
Coming home is scary because there is always a risk of being greeted with anger or disappointment. Enter through the door though and you’ll find a feast ready for you at the table with the Father, celebrating the return of the prodigal son or daughter. A shepherd will chase after one single sheep that wandered away and bring him or her back to the herd and be overjoyed. There’s no scolding, I told you so, or guilt trips. You are loved and forgiven. Just come home.