Where Are All My Children?
Yesterday, we celebrated the life of a 95-year-old mother of eight children. Her final words were, “Where are all my children?”
She loved her children, so her words weren’t surprising because it was typical of her when she was in better health. She enjoyed having her children near. When I filled in for them and sat with her in the nursing home, she always asked where her children were.
What stood out to me at the funeral service was that I heard those words as if from the mouth of God. It was like the Lord was asking, “Where are all my children?”
Ms. Lydia loved her children, but it doesn’t compare to the perfect, pure love that our God has for His children.
Why would He ask, “Where are my children?” After all, church doors still open on Sundays, and you can still find sermons on the TV and over the internet. Besides, God knows everything. He knows where we are.
But, do we know where we are? Maybe He wanted us to consider the question.
One time when Jesus was teaching, parents brought children to Him, but the disciples rebuked the parents and tried to send them away so He wouldn’t be interrupted. “But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Lk. 18:16).
Children gathered around Jesus’ knees is a picture of how our heavenly Father wants us to gather around Him. He desires a close, intimate relationship. Going to church every Sunday is not enough to experience that closeness. Not even if we teach Sunday School and sing in the choir.
Our Father wants to be first in our lives. He is God. He is to be preeminent. First.
Our problem is that we are easily distracted by life. By responsibilities and pleasures, triumphs and struggles. Things we see and do—as well as things of the world around us—capture our attention. Before we realize it, those things move into first place. They separate us from God.
However, the things that happen within us may be a bigger problem. Unforgiveness creates a strong barrier between us and God. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus said, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matt. 6:14-15). If God doesn’t forgive us, we can’t draw near to Him, making our worship meaningless.
Likewise, if we are embracing sin, while identifying as a Christian and trying to appear spiritual, we fool ourselves if we think we draw near to God. The Lord knows our heart and “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart” (1 Cor. 4:5b).
Other things that separate us from God include bitterness and anger, immorality, greed, gossip, slander, evil speaking, judging, pride, and even independence.
Anything that we elevate above God or that seeks to redefine who He is separates us from Him. We admire an independent, “self-made” person, but if our independence leads us to think we don’t need God in any and every situation, we’re denying Him, what He has done for us, and what He wants to do through us.
Our enemy, our culture, and our fallen nature all make it easy to fall into one of these traps that separates us from God. When that happens, we blend in with those of the world, lost in the commotion.
Then, our heavenly Father asks, “Where are all My children, the ones I love?” He bids us come to Him to be cleansed from our sin.
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely (Rev. 22:17).
“Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth” (Ps. 34:11-16).
“Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Indeed we do come to You, for You are the LORD our God” (Jer. 3:22).
“Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations” (Ps. 100:2-5).
Where are all God’s children? More importantly, where am I, and where are you?