The Closeness of God


It’s early Saturday morning and I just finished working two 12 hour shifts on Thursday and Friday. Well it’s really not “work” in the classic sense of “work”. More like I’m there and they pay me for it. I had been working as a Access Control Guard on a military base which involved me being on and off my feet for about 11 hours a day and exposed to the elements outside, rain or shine. I only work part time time now as I “officially” retired when I was 70, so I’ve been doing this for about 3 and a half years. You don’t realize it but the old legs aren’t what they used to be and when I turned 73 last April I noticed that it was getting a little hard on the old body. Then out of the blue they offered me a new position, I still work the same number of days, ten days every month but this new position came with a nice office, is totally inside and there is VERY little to do. Short story it is a gift. I’m still doing Access Control but now in an old military armory that they are renovating. This is just another example of how God has blessed me over the years. Who else would arrange it so that I had lots of time to study God’s Word, and get paid for it.

Not only do I have more time to study God’s Word but I also have time to pray more, whenever it strikes me that I want or need to. When I was in Cyprus many years ago working as a Peace Keeper with the United Nations (Canadian Armed Forces) I used to do a six mile run every evening and say my prayers at the same time. I don’t do the six miles a day anymore but I can still walk and pray, which is one of the primary manners in which I like to pray. And of course, there is a huge indoor parade square inside the armory that I work at and most of the time I am all alone there. So I can pray out loud and walk as I go. For some reason it seems more intimate and that’s what I need.

One of the things that has frequently been on my heart and mind as of late is the difficulty there is not being able to see or hear God on a regular basis. I know, we have His Word but I’m talking about the internal connection that sometimes happens when you sense His presence and your heart speaks to Him instead of your mind. It’s strange how you can feel close and distant from God at the same time. Close inside yet distant from what the normal senses observe. Sometimes as I am walking around praying I imagine that Jesus is literally walking with me. He said He would be with us until the end of the age. I told Him that if He appeared there I would fall at His feet. How can you love someone and never see them. Well you can. I’ve tasted and I long to be in His presence.

I’ve had time to recall all of the times when God directly intervened in my life, over the years. How He let me know He was there. There’s a lot. Words of reassurance, answers to prayer about things that I wasn’t even aware of but He was. Demonstrations of His love, time and time again. And the part that kills me is that for far too much of the time I didn’t let it really hit me like it should have. Oh, it did for a while, when ever what He did happened but I am such a fickle creature, yesterday isn’t the same as today and too often what happened yesterday didn’t follow through with me for the next day.

And it’s that intimacy with Him for today and tomorrow that I long for. I’m tired of me. I can’t comprehend why He bothers with me. I tell Him often that He knows my heart and He understands what I so often have a hard time putting into words. It’s so sad the way I have often treated Him and yet He remains there, drawing me deeper and deeper into Him. It’s those moments that I live for, when we’re close, almost face to face, spirit to Spirit.

I remind myself that the Apostles, including Paul, had to go through the same thing. They also tasted, experienced His presence and then He was gone, ascending up into heaven to be with our Father and yet remaining with us as He promised. That must have been hard on them too because they saw and heard and experienced more than we have and so that loss of intimacy would have been greater.

John 20:29 NIV  “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

That’s you and that’s me. The Apostle Paul is the one for me who always seems to be able to bridge that gap, once he saw or heard the risen Christ, he was never the same. That’s the way in which I want to be effected, need to be effected, ask to be effected. I ask God in my prayers to break me through, push me, pull me, get me on the other side where the oneness with Him in spirit takes precedence over the physical that I see.

And yet, God in His wisdom and love has endured my walking through the wilderness, He’s stuck with me as I with hesitation, entered into the new promised land. The whole point of the new promised land was to bring Israel and us, into a closer relationship with Him, to truly comprehend our need for Him and His love for us. The physical promised land is a side issue for the physical needs, the real experience, the spiritual reality and best benefit was coming to know God Himself. When Israel asked for a King, they missed that they already had one, yet He gave them one anyway. It’s hard to fathom God’s love.

I cherish what I’ve learned, I cherish His closeness, that can break through this physical reality I live in and touch me like no other. There is a direct link between marriage between a man and a woman and our relationship with God. That two becoming one only starts to be truly comprehended as we draw close to the end. So many mistakes yet so much grace and the love that exists and is so hard to express in words, both in marriage and our relationship with God. I never saw that while I was going through it but I see it now. And it wasn’t me that orchestrated it, it was God’s wisdom and love that brought it to where it is today and we’re still heading in His direction.

It struck me the other day while in prayer that there is no other face on this earth that I cherish and love more than my wife’s, in spite of the years that now are starting to show. It’s her face. You can’t buy that, it is a gift. And although I have never seen the face of God our Heavenly Father, I see Him through His Son and there is no other face that I long to see more. That also is a gift and the essence of our God. Only He can bring that about.

Philippians 1:6 NIV being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

God transforming us into the likeness of His Son. Simply amazing.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!




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