There is a story happening in real life right now that I believe mirrors very closely our situation with God.
The Today show has been following the story of Colin Bower, a father of two from Boston, MA. Bower won primary custody of his two children in a divorce from Mirvat El-Nady, an Egyptian native. However, after Bower dropped his kids off for a weeklong visit in 2009, El-Nady boarded an airplane with falsified passports for the boys (7-year-old Ramsey and 9-year-old Noor)and whisked them off to Egypt. Then, for the next thirteen months, she and her Egyptian family denied Bower any and all visitation, defying the governments of both the United States and Egypt.
Bower said in previous Today Show appearances that he worried about his ex-wife and her family brain-washing his sons to despise him, to tell him that they would rather live in Egypt with their mother’s family than come back to America with their dad. On Monday of this week, it appears that his worst fears were confirmed. Bower was allowed to meet with his sons, with his ex-wife and two of her brothers present, for about 25 minutes. During the visit, Noor and Ramsey wouldn’t leave their uncles, even to embrace their father. Bower will return to Egypt next month for another custody hearing, and is pursuing other means to get his sons back.
The story is truly heartbreaking. And the more I’ve watched it unfold in pieces on the Today Show, the more I recognized the story; because the fact is that it is my story, and yours. The story of Colin Bower and his sons is a microcosm of our stories with God. Let me explain.
Just like Noor and Ramsey were whisked away from the presence of their father by their mother, we are oftentimes pulled away from God’s presence by things in our lives that seem safe and trustworthy. And, just like those boys, once we are apart from God, those things begin to work on us to convince us that we would rather stay apart from God than return to him. And the whole time God is heartbroken, desperately trying to bring us back to him, to rescue us from an unhealthy situation.
My prayer for Colin Bower and his boys is that they will be reconciled, quickly and completely. And that is my prayer for myself, and for you today as well. I pray that you’ll break through the brainwashing that this world tries to inflict on each of us and return to God’s loving arms.