Come near to God and he will come near to you.
Lord, we know You are always near, but we don’t always feel Your presence. Open our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts, Lord, so that we can more clearly sense Your closeness.
We know God is everywhere at all times, and yet how many days we sit and think that He must be absent temporarily. He must have gone somewhere else and forgotten to tell us, because He doesn’t seem near to us at all.
Or maybe we see all that’s happening in the world and we just assume that, God being God, he’s probably needed elsewhere. He’s probably doing more important things than being with us in the still darkness of our bedrooms. But the Scriptures tell us that none of these perceptions is accurate. When we presume that God is too distracted or too busy to pay attention to us, we are ascribing our human limitations to God, and we are engaging in futile thinking.
Because God’s ways are not our ways, it can be hard for us to fathom that the same God who created the universe is always present, always attentive to our needs. And yet the glorious truth is that He is.
A sweet story is told about a little girl who went to the doctor for a checkup. Sitting on the examination table, the little girl waited patiently while the doctor listened to her heart with a stethoscope. “Oh, I hear something in there,” the doctor says to engage the little girl. “Is that Barney?”
“No,” the little girl corrected the doctor. “Barney is on my underwear. Jesus is in my heart.” She had no problem accepting that God is always near, as He is to all of us once we have invited Him into our hearts.
In Psalm 23, we see a picture of God as the shepherd of our lives. True shepherds, and certainly God would be one, are never far from their sheep. Constantly they are watching to make sure the sheep haven’t wandered off, and to ensure that they have enough food and water. The shepherds take care of the sheep, and they are always nearby.
In much the same way, God is always near to us. Even when we don’t sense His presence, He is there. He is there in the quiet of night. He is there in the midst of chaos and confusion. And He is most certainly there when our hearts are broken.
So if God is always there, why is it that we sometimes feel like He is far away? Most likely it’s because we have turned our attention away. We have been distracted by the cares of this world or the challenges a new day brings, and we have forgotten that He is near.
How can we restore closeness to God? The easiest way is simply to invite Him into our presence: to go to Him in prayer and ask Him to reveal Himself to us through thought or emotion in such a reassuring way that we cannot doubt His presence. We can also draw near to God through reading His holy Word and hearing Him speak to us through its pages. When we dedicate time to praise God, in worship and in song, we often sense His closeness.
Never doubt that God is near. If we enter a dark room, we may not see that someone is sitting there, but once we turn on the light we can see them clearly. We merely need to open our eyes to God’s light to see that He is always with us.
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How do you feel God’s nearness?
by Nancey Brummette
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Nancy Parker Brummett first led a Bible study in an assisted living setting in 1999 and she and the Lord developed The Hope of Glory in the years that followed. She also journeyed with her mother and mother-in-law through their adventures in aging, and her academic interest in aging led her to receive the Professional Certificate of Gerontology from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. The author of four other books, she now focuses her writing and speaking ministries on her passion for older adults and those who care for them. To learn more about Nancy’s life and work or to subscribe to her blog on aging issues, Take My Hand Again, visit her website.