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Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. —James 4:8
The teacher posed a question in Bible study last night: “How close are you to God?” It’s an uncomfortable question, because one answer is always “Not close enough.”
He provided a different answer, though: “As close as I want to be”.
It was a surprising statement to me, though it made immediate sense. Sometimes I don’t feel close to God, but I have a tendency to blame God for it, like He’s playing some cosmic game of hide and seek with me.
God doesn’t play hide and seek. The sad truth is, my own flaws and sins blind me to Him. The happy truth is, He’s where He has always been, “not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:28), waiting for me to seek after Him, waiting to reciprocate any efforts I make to draw near to Him.
Psalm 63 wonderfully expresses both what it is to earnestly seek God, as well as the rewards of the search.
Verse 1 says “My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You.” Perhaps Jesus had this psalm in mind when he said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
David expresses that satisfaction in verse 5: “My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips“.
In verses 6, 7, and 8, he continues:
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me.
These three verses are the most beautiful part of the psalm, to me. Quite honestly, marrow and fat don’t sound appetizing to my modern palate, but in a world where temptations, mundane distractions, and small evils constantly pelt me like hailstones, I long to feel safe in the shadow of God’s wings. I long to have someone to cling to, to depend on. And far from shrugging me off as needy, God will hold me up and support me.
All of that, though, depends on me being willing to seek the shelter of His wings, and on me being willing to cling, to admit my need.