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John 6:66 And so from that time on many of the disciples turned their backs on Jesus and refused to be associated with him. 67 So Jesus said to his twelve, “And you—do you also want to leave?” (The Passion Translation)

A couple of weeks ago, the littlest of my “grand-littles” turned 2. When the cake and ice cream had been eaten and the presents opened and it was time to leave, I asked her for a hug – and she uncaracteristcally turned away from me and refused. With all of the excitement of the moment – not to mention the sugar overload – I certainly understood why she did not respond as she normally would.

Last night, I stopped by for a visit with the grandgirls and her responses to me were the very opposite of what they had been at her birthday party. Last night she smiled and laughed at me – and repeatedly hugged me. It was wonderful – and even better, it was completely voluntary. At intervals she ran toward me and threw herself at me for a hug. It was precious, adorable, heartwarming and probably a thousand other adjectives I can think of.

Today, as I recalled these sweet moments from the night before, I thought about times when I have distanced myself from God which in turn reminded me of when I once heard a pastor say that if you feel God is distant from You, it is not God who moved. The wonderful thing is that those conditions don’t have to remain. God will always welcome us back to His loving arms.

Father God, You know that some days the only thing I want is to crawl up into Your lap – my divine Papa’s lap and seek the comfort that is truly only available from You. If I stumble, may I be quick to turn back to You. Thank You for being there. Thank You for waiting for me. Thank You for always welcoming me to the refuge that You are. In Jesus I pray, Amen.

James 4:6 You may think that the situation is hopeless, but God gives us more grace when we turn away from our own interests. That’s why Scripture says, God opposes the proud,     but He pours out grace on the humble. 7 So submit yourselves to the one true God and fight against the devil and his schemes. If you do, he will run away in failure. 8 Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you. Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin. Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle, your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other. (The VOICE Translation)