Turn Back Around.

Curly blonde hair. Little levi jeans with light up shoes. Miniature Carolina Baseball jersey. Blue eyes with eyelashes longer than mine and a smile that covered over half of his face.

Thomas was his name. I met him earlier today as I was waiting in line for my food at Panera. As he clenched his mother’s hand in front of me and played hide-and-seek with me through her legs, I instantly fell in love. I wanted to eat him for lunch, no seriously. He was THAT cute.

Well, as I looked up from my phone to step forward in line, I saw his big blue eyes staring at me, terrified as can be. I saw his mom had just gone to pick up napkins, not even two feet away from him, but was just out of his line of vision. Because I used to make the same look, I knew immediately what was wrong.

“You okay, buddy?”, I asked him.

One word out of my mouth and tears started to swell in his eyes.

“My mom left me. I don’t know where she went,” he said with the most pitiful look on his face.

“What’s your name? I’ll help you find her!” I said.

“Thomas. Tommy. Either one.” he said, as his voice cracked from crying and sniffling.

“Well Tommy, look riiiiiight over there” I said as I turned his body towards his mom. “She was just getting you napkins so you could eat your soup!”

Thomas had grabbed my hand at this point and squeezed it so tight I was already sweating. His grip sweetly loosened as soon as he saw his mother’s face.

“I’m so sorry! I swear, I leave for two seconds and they think I’ve been gone for five minutes. And anytime he doesn’t see me directly, he freaks out! Thank you.” his mom said. You could tell she was frazzled and a little stressed.

I told her about how I had two younger brothers and that look was far too familiar. Plus, her little Thomas was the first boy to make my heart skip a beat in quite a while (and yes, he was under six years old).

Sweet little Thomas and his mom ate lunch right near me and he would not leave her lap. He wanted to make sure she wasn’t going anywhere, especially not to get another napkin.

As I sat there eating my own soup, I couldn’t help but smile at the resemblance that this incident has with our relationship with Christ. So often, we turn our focus (just like Thomas had turned to look at me) and we think Jesus has abandoned us. Instead of turning back around or looking another way or searching for him, we become terrified and afraid. Just like Thomas’ mom had not left her little boy, Jesus never leaves us.

So, today I want to encourage you to remember that whenever we feel afraid or alone or worried or uncertain or anything at all, it is not Jesus who has gone anywhere, but rather us who have changed our focus.

Just like little Thomas was too short to see his mom’s face behind the napkin dispenser, sometimes we allow our circumstances and worldly perspective to blind us from seeing Jesus in the midst of our situation. But He is there, like He always has been and always will be.

Keep your focus on Him and when you feel like He has strayed, reconsider your view.

And, you will have days where tears will swell up in your big blue eyes and even your light up shoes can’t save the day. And on those days, Jesus will take those napkins He was getting just for you and wipe the tears off your face as you sit on His lap. Eating your soup. Resting your legs. Soothing your heart. Calming your spirit. Reminding you that once again, He never turns His back on us, it is only the other way around.

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