Maybe over 100 years ago, people understood those kinds of journeys much better, the literal journey helping to better understand the figurative journey. When you stepped out the family door to start a journey, communication and physical contact was like disappearing into thin air. Parents did not consider it lack of love from their off-spring or even rebellion battling for independence. It was just life in a revolutionary country known for pushing the boundaries of existence..
Meriwether Lewis was only 26 years old when he was commissioned for the Lewis and Clark expedition. It was a journey his mother didn’t take with him. Or Benjamin Bonneville who, according to a list of notable West Point graduates, “explored and mapped the Great Salt Lake and the Green, Snake, Salmon and Yellowstone Rivers.” Then, there is Davey Crockett who ran away from home at age 13 before returning at age 16. All left home, going into places where communication with parents was minimal or non-existent. Unless communication occurred via letters, contact over long periods of time was practically non-existent.
All these men left home and by leaving home became men strong enough to carry the burdens of great responsibility.
Lewis and Bonneville left home out of logical design. Much smoother. Much friendlier. Probably leaving hearts warmed with pride and eyes threatening tears at a son going out into the world – to continue life’s journey.
Crockett left out of passion. Probably leaving a mother’s heart frantic, filled with despair, and maybe a little broken-ness inside. He returned 3 years later, to fulfill his obligations, making things right – and went on to become a national hero.
Yes, even today sometimes, we have to let loved ones travel alone, without that mama contact, without the safety-net, without help or words of love and encouragement that are bursting from a father or mother’s heart; sometimes without closure. Sometimes those journeys are fraught with mortal and spiritual danger. Sometimes it takes that kind of journey for them to finally recognize and embrace the person they were designed to become. Unconditional Love lets go like that.
We are spoiled today with instant communication. Everything is at our fingertips. However, growing into maturity is not an instant thing. At times like this, when our loved ones are on unreachable journeys, prayer can reach them, touch them, love them for us – when our words and our arms cannot. When we cannot sustain relationship, prayer still loves.
“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30)
Our children, regardless of age, need us to “stand in the gap” before our Father, even when they are adults and in charge of their own spiritual health – we need to encourage them through prayer.
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.(Matt 15:21-28)
A mother interceding for her children through prayer. Touching their lives more effectively through prayer than with a hug or with words. Prayer can go places you cannot. Prayer allows a mother or father to connect when a child’s journey does not allow connection.