My soul follows
close behind You;
Your right hand
Some years ago as I read Psalm 63, I was impressed that this author encapsulated the essence of what it meant to be connected to God…. the way He intended for humankind to be connected to Him. For me it remains the most vivid picture in all of scripture of intimacy and heart to heart connectedness. As I read verse 8, which I’ve written above, I had a vision of a young child up on the back of their father, piggyback style. The father’s hand was round back of the child, securing them. As the picture in my mind filled out, a few things struck me. The first was the beauty of a child in that posture. They were safe. They were mobile, but without expending any effort. They moved from point to point as an adult would, impossible for them otherwise. More than this though, was the dramatic change in the child’s vantage point.
I have a small dog that when standing, has a view about 16 inches above the ground. I confess having more than once, been on the ground with him, curiously looking about to see what life looks like from a foot and change. It makes the dog happy because he rarely has company down there, and it makes me happy because I actually care about how my dog takes in life. TMI.
God incarnate got down on the proverbial floor with me when He became flesh. He knows, by experience, the full spectrum of what it means to be human. He knows what things look like from where I stand or where I sit or where I lie down. He meets me where I am and does life with me here. But there is a transcendent experience to be had with God too as He invites me up on His back, to see what He sees; to move in His strength; to go places and experience life in a way impossible, except from that place. He provides me another option for viewing….for living…for taking in life. His upholding arm does not imprison me, but keeps me. He offers security and protection there. This place, up on his back, is where I experience liberty, where I come in to the fullness of my purpose for being.
I can jump off if I like. It’s a terrible idea but always an option. When I jump off (when, not if), I believe my Father waits, watching carefully as I have just put myself in danger. I believe He calls me to come back, His voice revealing concern, not anger. Should I tarry in my return to Him, or should I fall (that’s another when, not if), I believe He comes & sits down beside me.
This is not the ‘valley of the shadow’, though it certainly could lead there. This “falling” occurred because of my willfulness, a sheep acting like a sheep. Mercy lives in those moments as He sits beside me. Grace lives there. Sympathy and understanding live there as do compassion & tenderness…. everything that lives in the heart of a loving Father. I don’t believe instruction happens there, or council of any kind. I am not in a posture to receive. I have chosen autonomy. That’s what makes His close proximity to me all the more radical.
As long as I have breath, I believe He waits. Sometimes He intervenes but I believe that is the exception. When I come to my senses, and finally reach for Him, I believe in an instant, He swoops me up on His back and we set out, once more, upon the adventure. Once again, I am under His sway. Once again, I receive. I regain what I had lost sight of, a vantage point known only to The Father and the child upon His back.