Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Usually tucked away in one of my pockets of my lab coat at work, or in my jean pocket at home, or in a pocket of my purse is one of several small smooth stones that I keep. I prefer them a bit flat, with a nice depression that is perfect for my thumb to nestle in as I hold the stone in my pocket. It is a reassuring feeling to hold onto something that is so solid, so ancient and which traveled many miles, bumped and ground to a silky smoothness just to end up in my pocket. These are stones that I spend time harvesting at my favorite southwestern Vancouver Island shore, where the newly named “Salish Sea” pours out from Puget Sound through the Straits of Juan de Fuca to the Pacific. I probably should be declaring them at the border when we return home, but I’m never sure how to put a value on a ziplock bag of perfect “holding” stones. I think the border guard would likely confiscate them and I’d have a lot of explaining to do.
Ostensibly I’m picking up these rocks to try my hand at skipping them on the surface of the water. That is only my excuse. But I’m a miserable skipper, yielding rarely more than four skips per stone. I guess I might be more aptly called a “stoner”. I actually can’t bear to let the best ones go, perhaps never to be heard from again. They would truly be lost forever. To cast them away, to actually feel them leave my hand, is a painful act.
I suspect God feels that same anguish at letting go of one of His children. We are not flung away for His entertainment (how many skips can this one make?), nor are we thrown away in anger. We are cast away from God’s hand when we could have chosen to cling to Him when we needed Him most. We too often let go when He urges us to stay. He wants us firm and solid in His hand, having been sanded and ground to a fine sheen by the bumps and bruises of life. He snugly holds us, His thumb nestled in the depression of our soul.
Tucked away in God’s pocket forever.