“But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.’
“ ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.’ ”
You may be old enough to remember when automobiles had what were called “bench seats” in the front as well as in the back. Most pick-up trucks still do, but most sedans now have bucket seats instead of bench seats in the front.
Well, back in the day when bench seats were the norm in sedans, a story was told about a couple who had been married for several years. One day as they were driving along, the wife said to the husband, “When we were first married, we used to sit right next to each other. We don’t do that anymore. You’re over there, and I’m way over here.” The husband thought a moment, then replied, “I’m still sitting where I always did.”
The purpose of this story is to illustrate how a relationship can change over time if all parties in the relationship don’t work to maintain it.
In our walk along the narrow way, there are many side roads that frequently appear … diversions that Satan throws in the way to separate us from our loving Father. The enemy of souls exercises continual effort to get us to move over—to slide across the bench seat and distance ourselves from the loving arms with which God seeks to envelope us.
In Romans 8:35, Paul asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
Then a few verses later, Paul answers that question:
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39.
If we take these texts to mean exactly what they say, it should be obvious that God’s love for us is omnipresent. It is always available to us. The problem is that we allow the vicissitudes of our daily lives—the ups and downs—to cause us to move away from the driver’s side closer to the window and create a breach between us and our Father.
That is why it is so imperative that we do two things … two simple things that will help us to stay in a close, loving relationship with our Father.
First, we need to make a habit of daily study of His word. Each day we need to make the teachings of God’s word the rule and guide of our lives. We need to seek to learn the full meaning of the words of truth and to drink deeply of the spirit of the holy oracles.
In The Bible Echo, October 1, 1892, is this statement:
“In the word of God is contained everything essential to the perfecting of the man of God. It is like a treasure-house full of valuable and precious stores; but we do not appreciate its riches, nor realize the necessity of equipping ourselves with the treasures of truth. We do not realize the great necessity of searching the Scriptures for ourselves. Many neglect their study in order to pursue some worldly interest, or to indulge in some passing pleasure. A trifling affair is made an excuse for ignorance of the Scriptures.”
The second thing we need to do to strengthen our connection with God is to remember how His loving hand has moved in our lives in the past. Inspiration terms it this way:
“We should ever recount our blessings. We should gather them together and hang them in memory’s hall.” The Review and Herald, March 26, 1889.
When Satan attempts to cast his hellish shadow over us to separate us from the love of God, we will have two weapons to refute his efforts—two sources of light with which to dispel his shadow:
- The precious promises in His word.
- The memories of how His loving hand has moved in our life in the past.
“God help us that we may hang memory’s hall all through with the rich promises of God, that when Satan shall come to cast his hellish shadow between us and the source of our strength we may just be armed; we have got the memorials all surrounding us—barricaded with the promises—and we can say, ‘Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation’ (Habakkuk 3:17, 18).” Sermons and Talks, Book 1, 133.
If we follow this counsel, memory’s hall will be replete with the promises in God’s word that we have stored up from our studies, and with the many, many times that He has fulfilled those promises in our daily life. Embellishments will include His providences and His blessings that our spiritual vision, sharpened by the exercise of faith, has discerned countless times.
If we are faithful and determined to commit ourselves to this practice, we will find that the distance between ourselves and our loving Father becomes less and less, rather than greater and greater. Then, truly, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6.
John Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. After retiring as chief financial officer for the Grand Canyon Association, Grand Canyon, Arizona, he moved to Wichita, Kansas, to join the Steps team. He may be contacted by email at: email@example.com.