Beyond Our Reach?
Known only to parents is the sense of achievement and pride mingled with concern and uneasiness which accompanies a maturing child's first semi-permanent departure from home.
Care, shelter, protection, guidance, counsel, support - for nearly two decades a parent may make these investments in the life of his offspring to awaken one morning to the awareness that the day brings entrance into college, the military, or independent employment.
The doors of home open, outward, the departing form merges into the crowd, and a trembling inner voice says, "He is virtually on his own. Will he stand true? Is he prepared to face the tensions and pressures without me? Have I done all I could? If I have not until now, it is too late to do it now. He is beyond my reach."
Beyond your reach. Too late now to counsel carefulness with the car, to tactfully screen and approve new friends, to warn of a midnight curfew, to gently but constantly cultivate spiritual sensitivity, to buffer the shocks and bumps.
Beyond your reach. All you can do now is hope - and pray - and trust. Isn't it strange, when we come right to the issue, how slow we are to recognize that when he is in the hands of the Holy Spirit he is in more capable hands than ours?
Beyond your reach. But is he?
He is not beyond the reach of yours prayers. Where is he - on a college campus 200 miles away? In a Sin City base 5,000 miles from home? In a steaming jungle that seems a million miles away from those who love him? He is as near as a prayer. Your bedside or church pew take you there, and God's Spirit does what even you could not do with your own presence. Your prayers can do what you could not.
He is not beyond the reach of your earlier commitments. Didn't you place him in the minister's arms, giving him to the Lord? In your heart, doesn't he remain there? Don't you remind God of this commitment - God who knows exactly where he is and reaches him there? If you gave him to God, trust God to preserve what is His.
He is not beyond the reach of early instruction and training. Can Bible verses be forgotten? Can songs come unlearned? Can years of regularity in devotional habits be discarded effortlessly? A voice in the night, a thought in a quiet hour, a song on the radio, the sound of bells on Sunday morning, the habit of dropping at the bedside before retiring, the word of a buddy, a paragraph in a letter, a line in a magazine - has not the Holy Spirit a thousand means of ministering to a gnawing, aching hunger, and reminding that the "means of grace," public and private, are still there?
Ah, that's the secret. He is not out of the reach of God and His Spirit. Where in the world - or space - can he go and not come face to face with Him? What noise can override the still small voice? In the after-dark hours, alone with naught but his thoughts, what barracks or dormitory wall can keep out the ever-present Friend, pleading His own cause?
Beyond our reach? Well, yes - but not really.
Robert W. McIntyre "With Open Face"