Originally published on March 26, 2020
Draw near to God
You’re walking on your street and a neighbor moves toward you. You take a few steps back and hold up your hand, arm stretched stiff. The message is clear – “Don’t get near.” That’s the message repeated on social media, on televisions, in our heads. Don’t get near. Don’t get near anyone except family members – and then only if they aren’t sniffling, coughing or running a fever. This is a strange time of isolation, distancing and detachment, not what we are made for as human beings.
However, there is one person that we can draw near to, any time, under any circumstances. “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:8. We are God’s children, his immediate family, and we can draw near to him no matter what.
How do we draw near to God? Here are some specific ways I have been drawing near to my Heavenly Father while I’m separated from everyone else:
Every morning I take a long walk and worship Him with praise and worship music. I even sing out loud. (I think that’s why my neighbors give me such a wide berth!) The Lord uses the lyrics of worship songs to open my heart to Him, to calm my thoughts and to give me a renewed spirit of hope and faith in our good God. There’s an old Hillsong song that goes like this:
Hold me in Your arms
Never let me go
I wanna spend the eternity with You
And now that You're near
Everything is different
Everything's so different, Lord
And I know I'm not the same
My life You've changed
And I wanna be with You
I wanna be with You
I read scripture. Read scripture. Read scripture. In the last few days the Psalms have spoken deeply to my soul. Psalm 34 reminds me that those who look to the Lord are radiant, that those who take refuge in Him are blessed, that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted. Psalm 105 exhorts me to “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”
When I wash my hands (a zillion times a day), I pray for our church family by singing new words to “Happy Birthday”: God’s blessings on you, God’s blessings on you, God’s blessings on the ______ family, God’s blessings on you. Twice, of course. ☺ It’s silly, I know, but I like praying blessings upon others, and it keeps me near to God.
For a time, we may have to stay apart from each other, but we can draw near to God. Those of you who are with your children or grandchildren know how good it feels to hug them and to have them near right now. God is our loving father who wants to put his strong arms around us and keep us close. Draw near.