Drawing Near to God
There once was a little boy named Tim, who was terribly interested in asking a particular question about God – “Can anybody ever really see God?” While Tim was too young to understand the complexities of his question, he still was mesmerized by the idea of God and all that the Bible had to say about his Creator. Tim was raised in a godly family, but still being young, his question at times caught those asked off guard. Tim continually asked his older sister, Julia, his question. Julia had heard the question a million times and had grown weary of trying to give any lengthy response, but rather just simply replied, “God is in heaven. No one can see God.” Tim understood his sister’s answer, but it was not enough to quell his curiosity about the reality of being able to behold God.
Tim allowed a few days to transpire and then approached his mom and dad with his question. The parents had heard him ask his sister and had discussed the best possible way to answer his question. So when Tim asked, they responded, “God is spirit. He dwells in our hearts through His Word and influence, but we cannot see God.” This reply gave Tim much to think about over the next few days and weeks. His parents’ reply gave a different depth to a relationship with God that Tim had not taken into consideration before with his sister’s reply. The parents no longer heard the question from Tim and thought that his curiosity was finally satisfied with their answer.
Time passed and then one beautiful Fall day, Tim’s grandfather, came to take him fishing on the family farm. Tim loved spending time with his grandfather. They would sing songs, play checkers, but his most favorite memory was spending time at the family pond fishing. Tim knew his grandfather understood a great deal about the Bible. His grandfather was an elder where his family worshipped, and Tim remembers multiple times his standing before the congregation and preaching. Tim took great pride in his grandfather being an elder and helping others with their spiritual questions. It was at that moment Tim began to think about his question and whether or not he should ask him. It had been a little while since he last thought about his question, but that afternoon offered Tim the perfect opportunity.
The pond was a still as glass and the fall temperatures and weather had painted a reflection no artist could have ever rendered. The beautiful bright reds, oranges, and greens reflecting off the pond had completely captured the attention of both Tim and his grandfather. They had stopped singing hymns and had begun to sit in silence upon the shoreline. Then Tim heard his grandfather say a prayer, thanking God for giving him such a beautiful afternoon to spend with his grandson. Tim’s curiosity was sparked and without even noticing he blurted out, “Grandfather, can anybody ever really see God?” Tim’s grandfather pulled him in tight along his side and replied, “Son, it’s getting so that I cannot see anything else.” Tim for the first time saw a tear fall from his grandfather’s cheek. Tim understood that his grandfather loved God so much, and Tim wanted this same type of love in his life when he grew older.
The moral of this story is not just to amuse the reader with the questions of a young child, but rather to ask at what level of commitment do you share in your relationship with God? We all in different aspects of life have obstacles that can hinder our relationship with God. The older sister worried about many different things and her relationship with God was not one of them. While she was faithful to attend services, the depth of her knowledge concerning God was still rather shallow. She understood the personal nature of this relationship, but she still only saw God in the realm of heaven. She desired to be in heaven, but she felt that there would be many more years before she made it there.
The parents’ faith manifested one of deeper appreciation for the relationship they share with God, but there still was much room for maturing. The life of a parent is a constant errand of some type. We have to take the kids to soccer practice, band recital, karate, etc. We have to stop by Wal-Mart and pick up milk, bread, eggs, etc. We need to call sister Judy who missed this past Sunday. We need to take a meal to the shut-ins. We need…but our day is still only 24 hours. The busyness of life requires more time than we may realize. The parents take time to study for their classes, help their children with their material, but the restraint of time leaves little for further and deeper mediation.
The grandfather’s faith in the story is exemplary. It was this depth of love and devotion that will motivate and stimulate his grandson to a better relationship with God. The grandfather’s faith had grown to the point that God was literally in control of every thought and action. The Psalmist wrote, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2). The grandfather had learned that this life is much more than the worries of a teenager, or the hustle and bustle of a young parent’s life. This life is all about the One who created it, sustained it, and blesses it. It is not my own, but rather everything I have is owed to Him.
Where are you in the journey of life and at what level is your commitment to God? While each of these above are faithful in their lives, it does not excuse their unwillingness to continue to grow and mature as Christians. One word that does not belong in the Christian’s vocabulary concerning their spiritual life is CONTENTMENT! We must learn to be content in our physical life with those blessings from God, but we must never grow content in our spiritual lives with God. There is always an area in our spiritual lives that we can grow stronger and more dependent upon God. James wrote, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (4:8a). May we replicate the faith of the grandfather and never cease to grow ever closer to our mighty God. May God give us the strength to see Him in everything we do and hear Him in every word we speak! “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25)!