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Stay Near to Him

What if we stayed close to God all the time–not just when we got into trouble?

Looking high up into a tree

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1, NIV)

“MOM!” Allyson shrieked.

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It was one of those “mom cries” that sends mothers into an instant panic. I heard my then 5-year-old screaming for me, but I couldn’t find her. I could tell her voice was coming from outside, but I didn’t see her out front when I peered through the dining room window.

“Mom, hurry!”

I ran to our backyard, scared that she might have fallen into our pool.

She wasn’t there.

She must be in the front yard, I thought. But where is she?

Looking high up into a treeFinally, I found her. She was way up in our live oak tree that stood in the far corner of our front yard . . .and she was stuck.

“Mom! Help me!”

I looked up at how high my baby girl had climbed and felt a little panic inside.

“Just a minute, babe,” I called. “I’m coming.”

Trying to remember how to climb a tree, I inched my way up–slowly, carefully and prayerfully. Finally, I reached the branch directly beneath her and gently touched her leg closest to me.

“I’m going to reach up and place your foot next to me, Allyson, and I want you to carefully climb down to me.”

“OK,” she said through tears.

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When she finally got close enough, she clung to me like she’d never clung before. Branch by branch, we proceeded down the tree, and the whole way down, she kept saying: “I’m sorry, Mommy. I’m sorry, Mommy. I’m sorry, Mommy.”

Once we were safely on the ground, I reminded Allyson that she wouldn’t have been stuck in our tree if she’d been obedient. After all, she wasn’t supposed to go outside by herself and she certainly wasn’t supposed to climb our tall tree—not without help.

Allyson wiped her tears on her Tweety Bird shirt, said she was sorry, and promised she’d never do it again, and then ran inside to watch cartoons with her sister.

Allyson’s traumatic tree experience is similar to how many of us walk with God. We do our own thing, act in disobedience, and when we get stuck in a scary tall tree, we holler, “Help, God, and hurry!”

After he rescues us, we cling to him, crying and saying how sorry we are, until we’re safely on solid ground. Then, we go about our own lives until we need him again.

Wouldn’t it be better if we stayed close to God all the time–not just when we get into trouble? Then we wouldn’t have to holler for him because he’d already be there.

Though I was quite upset with Allyson that afternoon for directly disobeying me, I knew in my heart that I had done the same thing to my Heavenly Father time after time.

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I’m so thankful that God is a God of mercy and grace and that his mercies are new every morning because I’ve been stuck in a tall tree more times than I care to admit. How about you?

Pray this with me: Father, help me to stay near you all the timenot just in times of trouble. And, Lord, help me to follow you and your way of doing things so that I might walk in your perfect plan for my life. In the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen. 

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