Friday, March 24, 2017

The Presence of God

When we talk about using the Bible to draw us nearer to the heart of God, there's a very practical reason for this: God is actually near. 

Most of us don't understand that any more. We have come to this place in our faith where God is somewhere else and the only thing we've got of Him is a promise that someday, we might be somewhere else with Him, and His Word, which is supposed to somehow guide us to this other place. We feel the distance when we read His Word, but we just figure that's the way that it's supposed to be.

After all, God is a mystery, right? His ways are higher than our ways. He is beyond our wildest imagination. We could never possibly get a good hold on Him. So mystery it is. And longing. And aching. And distance.

But take a good look at the Bible and tell me - where does it say that God is distant from His people? Where does it tell us that this is the way that it is supposed to be?

In the beginning, God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He came to Noah with instructions on how to build a big ship. He met with Moses on the mountain and marched before Israel in battle. He met Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in a fiery furnace and came to Daniel in a lions' den. He dwelt among His people in a Tent of Meeting and then in the Temple. He came down, Himself, in the form of a Man, lived among us, walked the same paths that we walk, fished the same seas that we fished, died the same death that we die. And when He left us from there, He said, "Don't worry - I'm sending a Helper for you." In other words, I'm not going far.

So tell me - where, exactly, do we get this idea that God is far from us? This just is not His testimony.

Yet that's how most of us are living, content to have the distance between us. Content to use His word as a bridge, not from our heart to His but from now until eternity, if we can just hold on long enough. We've got a white knuckled faith from holding on so tightly because we have all but forgotten that there is a God who is so close that He's holding onto us. 

That's why it's so important that we use our Bibles correctly. That's why it's so important that we let His Word guide us back to His heart. Because it wasn't meant to be this way. Nowhere in all of Scripture are we told that it was meant to be this way. But here we are. Sadly, tragically, here we are.

We've settled for Scripture, no longer realizing that every single word of God was meant to draw us deeper. We've settled for a Word, even though we're longing for a presence. Even though that presence is near. We've settled for time and space, but God's promise is eternal closeness. He is near. He always has been. He always will be. 

We just have to look up from our books long enough to realize it. 

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