Distance doesn’t matter

It was 4 AM and I heard these dreaded words. “Continue on south for 559 miles.”

Last Saturday I visited my son at his college. Forty-eight hours later I pulled in the driveway back home before my other kids left the house for school and then I went to the office. It’s been six weeks since we dropped our boy off at college. He’s in the film program and loves his editing and shooting and script writing classes. He’s not burned anything yet that I know of in the apartment. He’s doing well. There were a few hard things going on with each of us, though, and we both just needed to see each other, if for no other reason than we’re father and son.

The only thing keeping us from that was fourteen hours of monotonous interstate. Distance doesn’t change the fact that I’m his dad, even if that distance is half of the USA. When my son needs me, I’m coming to him. So I sat in the truck and headed south…

My favorite question in the Bible is in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve are in the Garden and have messed up. Sin for the first time entered the story. In an instant – like when you touch an electric fence – Adam and Eve realized a chasm has been introduced into their relationship with God where there was once closeness and intimacy. And God comes in the Garden. “Where are you?” Yeah, right, as if he didn’t know. As if he was asking for help to find them. As if he wasn’t aware of what had happened. He knew the separation was there and why.

Yet, he came to them…

In a few days I’ll be in an Asian country. In two locations I’ll get to be with former Buddhist believers who are now pastoring or starting churches in this Buddhist country. Many of them describe their previous search for peace as a long journey not knowing where or if it would end. The ultimate goal of Buddhists is nirvana, where suffering and the desires that cause suffering come to an end. It’s an impossibility, a chasm too large for most to imagine crossing. Until they reach nirvana, each man and woman goes through endless cycles of birth and rebirth.

Many of these believers I’ll be with will describe their conversion experience in words that echo God in the Garden. They realized somebody was coming to them when they couldn’t get anywhere themselves. When they realize what a holy God went through to come to them, they are astonished.

But that’s what fathers do. They go to their kids…

When I left my boy Sunday afternoon to drive through the night back home, he gave me a hug and said all I needed to hear. “Thank you, Dad. Thank you for coming.” And I teared up in happiness for our relationship. The distance wasn’t insurmountable.

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