“Where could she be?”, my husband asked engulfed in the fear of any parent with a missing child. I could see the panic in his eyes, and I KNOW he could hear the shakiness of my voice. The three of us had walked out of the auditorium into the crowded hallway together. We paused a brief second to look at something on a table, turned to leave and she was gone. Nowhere in sight!
For the next 15 minutes, what started as a calm search soon led to panic as we turned the school upside down. As the crowd slowly disbanded, thoughts of “what if” clouded our minds. Had she walked out with a friend, or worse?
Seconds later, a blur enters my peripheral vision. Our splotchy-faced little girl embraced us with tear stained eyes as she recounted what happened. When we paused for a brief second, she stepped away from our side and skipped on ahead. By the time she turned back, the crowd had filled the distance between us. Only commotion flooded her eyes. In desperation, she fled back to her teacher still inside the auditorium. While we were frantically searching for her, her little heart was filled with fear. Fear we had forgotten her.
And this, my friend, is what distance creates: room for error. Although fear is not what created the initial distance between our daughter and us, it didn’t take long for the Enemy to plant seeds of fear and doubt.
Distance from Christ creates room for error.
You see, when commotion sets in, if we aren’t tethered to His side, fear overpowers what we know to be true. Our eyes wander. The crowd fills our view of Him; we fall prey to fleeing and following Him from a distance. Fear creates distance; distance creates fear; the cycle begins.
No one knows this better than Peter. The night Jesus was betrayed, fear stepped into the garden, and all his disciples fled, including Peter.
“Then everyone deserted him and fled. When they seized him, they took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest.” Mark 14:50; 53-54
The same man who just a few verses earlier “insisted emphatically” he would never disown Jesus and cut off the guard’s ear fled and was now following at a distance. Peter took his eyes off Jesus, and fear opened him up to following others away. So how do we close that gap? While I wish there were a straightforward way for all, there’s not. But these are steps I have taken in my walk when I have stepped away from His side and skipped on ahead.
Determine the fear or obstacle keeping you from earnestly following Him.
The fear that kept Peter following at a distance eventually led him to deny Christ. When we allow distance, we too deny Him lordship over areas of our life. Before we can bridge the gap, we have to determine the fear or barricade. Is it fear of what He will ask you to do? Leave behind? Perhaps, you’re unsure. Spend time prayerfully asking the Father; earnestly seeking His thoughts. Use the following verses (or your own chosen verses) to pray back to Him. His desire is for His children to draw near and His Word is sovereign, trustworthy.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Psalm 51:6
Fear creates distance; distance creates fear; the cycle begins.
Once you know the hurdle, repent.
When Peter realized what he had done in denying Christ, he ran out and, according to Matthew and Luke, he “wept bitterly.” Something wonderful happens when a genuinely repentant heart seeks purification from a mighty God. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19). So repent: confess, ask forgiveness, cry over, and turn from.
Commit to spending time with Him daily.
Easier said than done, right? Sometimes life can “get in the way” but time spent with Him is never wasted; He will honor your time with Him. Try getting up 15 minutes earlier, take a short break at work, listen to the Bible app on a walk or your way to work, and/or keep a prayer journal. Get creative. When we follow Him closely, His spirit falls fresh on us, and His presence penetrates our entire being.
To help you with this process, I have created a printout for you. Simply sign up to receive it (and more freebies), print it, complete it, and carry it with you. Until next time, blessings!!