by Carol Brown
I've been marking off the days on the calendar, counting down the hours until Burgess returns from his month-long study abroad trip to Italy. Burgess has lived away from home for the past two years, so I am sort of accustomed to his absence from our house, but this has been different. While he's been in Italy, his communication with us has been limited to a brief text here and there and a status update on Facebook every few days. He's not in a third-world country or anything, but communicating can be expensive and then there's the difference in time zones.
A few days ago, Steve called up the stairs at 6:15 a.m. saying, "Hurry, I've got Burgess on Skype!" He woke me from a sound sleep, but of course I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs, anxious for a chance to see Burgess' face and hear his voice. When I got in front of the computer's video camera, Burgess took one look at my bedraggled self and said, "What is it, the middle of the night?" Well, I don't get up at 6:15 a.m. for just anybody, but I had been longing for news from my child and I'll take it any time I can get it.
When I think about how much I long to hear from Burgess and how I treasure each bit of news I get from him, I wonder if that's how God longs to hear from us. When we don't talk with God daily, does God grow anxious for a chance to hear our prayers? God paints a picture of his love for us when he says he longs to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18). And Jesus expresses his care for us when he says to the crowds, "How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings..." (Matthew 23:37). God's love for us draws us to spend time in his presence.
I know that in just a few more days I will be able to sit on the couch next to Burgess and listen until my heart is full as he tells me about his wonderful adventures. My longing for news will be satisfied and, like a mother hen who has gathered her chicks at last, I will be content.