"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" (Psalm 139:7 NIV)
When my younger daughter was a toddler, we were at our central downtown library with its three floors and lots of rooms, rather than the smaller, one-story branch where I could easily see her from any vantage point. At "the big library," my daughter knew she was supposed to stay close at hand, but I'd only been looking a few seconds for a book for myself when I realized she was nowhere in sight. I raced down the flight of stairs to the one place I thought she might have gone, and there, under the door of the bathroom stall, I saw her innocent pink flip-flops.
God, the Perfect Parent, has no such trouble keeping track of us. The Psalmist reminds us that there is nowhere we can go where God does not see us...nowhere in this life we can be present apart from God's presence.
In my own mind and heart, I've been lost in sin, lost in uncertainty, lost in heartbreak and discouragement. But every time, as I've cried out to God and sought Him through prayer, worship, and His Word, He's pulled me back. It wasn't as if He had gone anywhere. God is not some standoffish being who makes Himself hard to find. But He gives us the free will to seek Him because He knows that is the only way for the search to be genuine.
How hard it must be for our loving Father to watch us choose not to seek him. And yet what joy it must bring to God's great heart when we do look for look for Him—a greater joy, even, than when I saw those little pink flip-flops on that library bathroom floor.