Following Jesus

Anita Mellott homeschools and blogs “Words of Encouragement and Hope” at
From the Mango Tree. Her book of devotionals for homeschooling parents will be released by Judson Press in late summer 2011.

“But Peter followed him at a distance…” Matthew 26:58

The rush hour traffic inched along bumper to bumper. Though I had factored in enough time, I couldn’t help glancing at the clock on the dashboard every few minutes.

After allowing a couple of cars to enter the stream of traffic at a McDonald’s entrance, I moved in to close the gap. The nose of a beaten-up, once grey Honda Civic shot out of McDonald’s and began to edge its way between our van and the SUV in front of us—space I didn’t think existed.

“What’s he doing?” I gasped as I hit the brakes and my tween screamed.

Trapped, I held my breath waiting for the sickening crunch of metal on metal. My grip on the steering wheel relaxed as the car squeezed through and made a sharp turn into the next lane. I exhaled.

“That was close, Mom.” My tween’s voice broke the heavy silence.

I nodded and glanced at her in the rear view mirror.

We drove on, my mind still on the incident. “Didn’t I close up the gap? Yet, it was large enough to let a car, even a tiny one sneak in.” After a few minutes, Matthew 26:58 flashed through my mind, “But Peter followed him at a distance….” New thoughts probed. “Is there a distance between Jesus and me? If I followed Him closer, would there be room for doubts and fears? How would my life—my writing and my homeschooling change—if I followed close behind?”

Life’s currents often sweep me along. Schedules, deadlines, and to-do-lists drive me, at times against my will. I begin to fall further behind my Lord. Before I know it, there’s a glaring chasm. Yet, the Master bids me to abide in Him (John 15:4). That implies a deep communion, a closeness of relationship—one that leaves no space for distance to develop.

“Lord, help me follow so close behind You that when You stop, we collide.”