A few years ago my wife and I saw Dear Evan Hansen, a musical about a teenage boy who’s lonely, socially awkward, and depressed. But then Evan tells a lie that changes his life, granting him instant internet fame and even the attention of the girl he likes. But, of course, the lie gets exposed and everything falls apart. Crushed and alone, Evan runs back home, where his mother wraps him up in her loving arms and assures him that she’s not going anywhere, that she will always be there for him.
Kim and I loved the musical, but I have a love/hate relationship with its message. On the one hand, I love how Evan’s mom forgave her son and loved him even when no one else did. On the other hand, I hate how she made a promise to him that she couldn’t keep. Because she couldn’t “always” be there for him. In fact, part of Evan’s loneliness came from the fact that she was rarely there for him due to her hectic work schedule as a single parent.
Thankfully, we have this: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Our Father is our refuge, the one we run to in times of trouble. And notice that life-saving adjective—ever-present. He is present every time, everywhere, every when.
Like Evan, we all need someplace to go when we mess things up. Thankfully, we have a place. Always. That’s no exaggeration. Which is why the gospel is such good news.