The other morning, I had just finished my quiet time and was getting ready to head off to work, so I grabbed my keys. As I looked down at my keyring, I noticed the penny I have around one of the rings. It’s one of those ones that you get at a tourist shop or something like that, where they punch a shape out of it. This one happens to be a smiley face. Back when I was in high school, I was the manager for the softball team, and at the end of the year, the players always got gifts for the coaches. That year, they decided to get a little something for me as well, which included that penny. Those of you who know me will know why. From that day on, it has always been on my keyring. I’ve had to switch which hole the ring runs through a couple of times, because after a while one eye gets bigger than the other, so I try to keep it evened out.
Anyhow, that was almost 11 years ago now, and the penny is still on my keyring. Of course by now, it’s worn pretty smooth from rubbing against the other keys on my keyring and the inside of my pocket. It’s not really copper colored anymore, because most of the copper has worn off and all you can see is the zinc inside mostly. But, that penny has been with me almost every day for the past 11 years. No matter where I’ve been, I always have my keys with me. It’s travelled with me to work and school, to the grocery store, the gas station. It’s been on longer trips to Indiana, Missouri, and to Chicago probably 50 times now. And even on my longest trips, to Minneapolis, Virginia, and the Carolinas. In driving alone, that penny has been over 150,000 miles with me, not to count all my train trips, flights, and bus rides, or the times I’ve tagged along with other people.
Come to think of it too, that penny has been with me during both the best, as well as the worst, times in my life. No matter where I’ve been, it has gone along. But not because it wanted to, it has come along because it has been attached to my keyring the entire time.
That got me to thinking. Because even though that penny had to join me on all my trips, my closest friend has joined me on every single trip, not because He had to, and sometimes even when I didn’t necessarily want Him to, but because He wants to, because He cares so much about me. And unlike the penny, which I can take off and throw away, or give away, or just leave home, nothing I can do will ever make Him leave my side.
You see, Jesus made a promise to me. In Hebrews 13:5, it says “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Also, in Romans 8:38 it says “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? No matter what happens, no matter where I go, no matter what I do, Jesus will still be walking right along with me. Whether I’m 30,000 feet up in the air, or walking on the beach at sea level. Just like that penny, only so much moreso. No matter whether I’m stressed or at peace, no matter whether I’m scared to death or thrilled at life. Even if my Verizon phone loses signal, and I no longer have “the network.” He is still standing beside me.
And that’s really cool, you know? Because, it’s very comforting to know that, when I’m standing at that bus stop in Chicago at 11pm and this same car keeps driving by and looking, I can talk to Him. Or when I’m flying, and we hit some turbulance, He is in the seat next to me. Or when that server crashes at work, He’s there guiding my steps. If one of my friends is having a rough time, He gives me the words to say, or the words to not say and just be there for them. Likewise, when I’m having a rough time, He gives my friends the words to say, or the words to not say and just be there for me. And yes, even when I’m home all alone, and feel lonely and my house seems so big and empty, He is sitting on the couch next to me, or on the floor next to my recliner, and whispers “I love you” in the ears of my heart.
And suddenly, the bus stop isn’t so scarey. The plane seems to start just floating. The problem, doesn’t seem so severe. Our lives seem so much sweeter, so much more restful and at peace. And I don’t feel alone anymore.
And as for the penny, well, it can stay right where it’s at too.
Update 1/4/2009: After carrying it every day for over 12 years, I have passed the penny on to one of my friends, that it may remind her of the continual Presence and Love of Jesus Christ.