We are thrilled to have GRAMMY nominee and a multiple award-winning singer songwriter Matthew West sharing his thoughts on the blog today!
Nothing Can Separate Us
When I was a child, my biggest fear was being separated from my parents in the shopping mall. I remember being dragged against my will to the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, Illinois. Sometimes, the agony of accompanying my mom at the mall would find us still shopping close to the mall’s closing time. Lights began to dim and store employees were reaching up to pull down those chain-link security gates to lock up their stores. Then an announcement overhead, “Attention shoppers, the mall will be closing in ten minutes.” Suddenly, I was convinced I would become separated from my mother, locked inside the mall overnight and forced to spend the night running from the mannequins that would surely come to life and chase me!
My fear must have been written all over my face because my mom would lean down and whisper words of assurance. “I won’t let you out of my sight,” she would whisper. That combined with a reassuring squeeze of my hand and my fears were calmed (Except the thing about the mannequins. They still freaked me out!) These days, I still fear shopping malls but for different reasons. Now, I’m afraid that my wife and daughters might spend all of my money there!
Perhaps you’ve heard of the term “separation anxiety.” This is when someone is afraid of being separated from a particular person. Among the symptoms I read about, two in particular made me think of my relationship with God. One symptom was “having a heightened fear of being alone,” and another was “needing to know where a person is at all times”. Spiritually speaking, we all can relate to these symptoms. And God knows that our awareness of our imperfections and sin would leave us with a heightened fear of being left alone by God. Why else would scripture echo this refrain so often that God is WITH us? I need that daily reminder, don’t you?
That’s where that second symptom of separation anxiety comes in. I need to know where God is at all times. But our need to know where He is at all times is not a symptom of anxiety. It is a means of survival. I must remind myself daily that nothing can separate me from God’s love.
As I write this, our world is being forced to learn what the term “social distancing” means. Many are separated from family members, loved ones, neighbors, co-workers, and church family. This is no doubt the most difficult season our society has faced in my recent memory. But let me leave you with this encouragement that I felt the Lord put on my heart: at the same time we are being forced to experience social distance, God is inviting us to experience spiritual closeness. “Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9.)”
Simply put, God stays. He stays with you. He stays with me. If we ever feel a distance between ourselves and God, He is never the reason! He is the one who pursues when we are the ones who wander. I pray you find these words an assuring whisper, that squeeze of the hand letting you know that you are not alone. Allow the promises of God’s presence calm your fear today knowing that “nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39.)”
Mercy Multiplied is a free-of-charge residential counseling program that helps young women ages 13-32 break free from life-controlling issues and situations. Apply today or learn more by visiting MercyMultiplied.com.
Matthew West and his wife Emily are longtime Mercy supporters. To learn more about Matthew West’s music visit matthewwest.com.