“Bam, how old are you?”
My oldest grandson’s eyes sparkled with pleasure over the edginess of his question, although I’m sure he knew I’d answer without hesitation.
“I’m 58,” I said because my September birthday hadn’t happened yet.
“You’re younger than Grammy!” he reported with surprise. “You don’t LOOK younger than Grammy! Your hair is gray!”
Smothering a guffaw, I agreed with him that I do indeed look older than his other grandmother, but he wasn’t done with his analysis:
“Bam, you’re the youngest old person I know!”
Of course, I couldn’t wait to pass this story on to my husband and my kids because it’s just SO completely in keeping with that little boy’s personality.
It’s also in keeping with the kind of relationship I want to have with him: available, accessible, open, receptive, thick-skinned, willing to absorb whatever observations he is ready to share. My hope is that my behavior toward my grandson will provide a small tutorial on the character of God.
God is not distant or untouchable. I have even discovered that he is unfazed by my questions.
God is not distant or untouchable. I have even discovered that he is unfazed by my questions.Tweet
Draw Near to a God Who Is Nearby
The incarnation testifies to God’s nearness. Jesus’s life in a body in first-century Palestine was lived among people. He did not hold himself apart from the needs or the naughtiness of humanity, and we can only imagine what life on the road would have been like for him and the band of twelve who had committed themselves to the following life.
One of his closest friends described Jesus, the Word as fully present, within reach, accessible, even tangible:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life…1 John 1:1
Ministry is a life-on-life proposition, and this verse brings to mind images of long dusty road trips on tired sandals, a shared pot of something cooked over an open fire, drinking out of the same water bottle, rolling up in blankets, and sleeping under the stars in a borrowed field.
So often our perception of God is distant, “high and lifted up,” and certainly he is wholly other and”not like a tame lion.” But in Christ, the omnipotent has come near, the Creator God is “veiled in flesh,” and he knows my frame as well, remembering that I am dust.
Opening the postcard-sized epistle of 1 John, the invitation I hear from the Beloved Disciple is this:
Obviously, this will look very different for you and me than it did for John, but the invitation is genuine. We draw near to God through his Son Jesus.
In prayer, we express our needs, the contents of our hearts, and even our inappropriate questions. In scripture, we find words about the Word and learn all we can absorb about his ways. Elisabeth Elliot threw down an unapologetic challenge to draw near to God through his word:
The Bible is God’s message to everybody.
We deceive ourselves if we claim to want to hear his voice but neglect the primary channel through which it comes. We must read his Word. We must obey it. We must live it.”
One way I’ll be taking action to draw near this fall is by memorizing the first ten verses of 1 John in community with the great people at Hide His Word. You can sign up to join us HERE, and you’ll be encouraged by the group and helped by the resources offered.
I’m wondering, what is your greatest obstacle in drawing near to God? Let’s get the conversation started in the comments below.
Holding you in the Light,
“The Bible is God’s message to everybody. We deceive ourselves if we claim to want to hear his voice but neglect the primary channel through which it comes. We must read his Word. We must obey it. We must live it.” #ElisabethElliotTweet
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Hey, Northern New England friends!
Yesterday, I received the sad news that the Thrive Conference has been canceled. I was looking forward to meeting some of you there, so this is a huge disappointment!
God is sovereign even in this, and I’m trusting that other opportunities will come in his good time.
The fall issue of Joyful Life Magazine is out now, and it includes an article from me! Look for “If I’m Already Forgiven, Why Do I Need to Confess My Sins?” Too, my friend Sue Moore Donaldson is sharing her thoughts on spiritual growth. This print publication will orient your gaze toward the beautiful growth and change that the Lord is working in our hearts and our homes.
And as always, you can also subscribe to Living Our Days blog to get regular content delivered to your inbox twice a week. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page. If you’re encouraged by what you read here, be sure to spread the word!
What I’m Reading Now
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