Near to me. So much of my sin, so much of my pride, and so many of my excuses have been about me being alone– my perception of Him being far. Sometimes I don’t notice the fabulous nature of it all–of being His daughter, of having Him dwell in me. I am Martha in the day-to-day, afraid and swollen with anxiety. Noticing His nearness is a matter of posture, a matter of peeking around the corner of the kitchen and seeing.
Service loses its goodness when it loses sight of the Savior. He is near. Let the pots wait. Let your knees bend. How many times will I wipe the counter and think it is more of a reality in my life than He is?
His nearness breaks the curse of loneliness that makes us believe we are the center of our world, that our sin only touches us. There are many ways to be lonely–sometimes loneliness awaits in a lack of people, sometimes it awaits in their excess. It is the mama with children pulling, and it is the bachelor at home with his computer. It is the woman who watches romances to feel the hope of perfect love; it is the child who throws and screams to be noticed. “For I am with you” Jesus said. Those were some of His last words on earth.
I want to remember those words in the empty, in the mundane, in the bountiful.
It is His nearness that can be our deepest desire and our greatest fear. We long for His comfort, but we fear the conviction. We foolishly believe that we can truly be alone, so we plunge into our sinful ways, then are fearful of coming to Him for His forgiveness and the comfort of His love.
This idea of coming “boldly before the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16) seems like a fairytale. I struggle and squirm, bite my fingernails, and wince at the idea of His nearness and knowledge of my thoughts and struggles. Only in His presence, only due to His nearness is change possible, a ‘happily ever after’ within my grasp. In battle, it is the nearness of the Captain that gives the soldiers courage.
It is His voice we need, rushing over our souls and implanting truth. We also need His nearness. His presence so close—it is both a caution and a reprimand. We cannot run. Certain days I shudder at that thought, even though I know I should delight in it. I feel dirty. My alabaster jar is full of oil, full of oil because I am full of sin, full of a past. Why would he want that poured on His feet? Why should my hair touch His skin?
There are moments I envy Mary and Martha. I want to sit on the floor and look into Jesus’ eyes—to be physically assured of His love and forgiveness towards me—to see His smile and know that I am special to Him—that twinkle in the eyes my earthly Daddy has for me, where I know that I am one of the dearest things in the whole world to him.
It is the ultimate comfort of a child–the nearness of a loving father.
But I will have to wait to see the Lord’s smile just a little longer, enjoying the beauty of this life along the way. There is a lot of it.
When Jesus was nearing the end of His time on earth, He told his disciples that He would leave them the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) and that it was better that way (John 16). We live in the better-that-way. Don’t you forget it.
Keep the Faith,
“Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:23-24, ESV)
“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:28)