Thursday, June 23, 2011

Near

As Christians we have the hope of "But God..." Knowing that His grace is enough. Believing that we won't be given more than we can handle. Trusting He provides a way out for us.

It's all there in black and white - God-breathed and Holy Spirit-inspired. It's not that we doubt; but am I alone in my honesty when I admit that at times I've lost all hope? Or that I can't find the escape? Or I feel it IS more than I can bear? The point when I've reached the desert. The bottom has fallen out. The walls have crumbled down. Hope seems futile. Peace is long-forgotten. Comfort doesn't come. Alone. Destitute. This may be the onslaught of the "ugly cry" I referenced last week.

I find myself like the panting deer. "O God, you are my God and EARNESTLY I seek you. My soul thirsts for you and my body LONGS for you..." (Psalm 63:1, emphasis mine)

It's not for a lack of searching. I know what I need. I'm desperate for it. A touch. A word. A supernatural intervention. From the depths of my soul, I cry out for Him. "From the ends of the earth, I call...I call as my heart grows faint." (Psalm 61:2)

I want to curl up in a ball, shriveling like the hope I once had; but I cling to the promise in James that when I draw near to Him, He will draw near to me (4:8). "Oh please, Lord," I beg. "Be near."

James continues: "Be afflicted and mourn and weep. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy to heaviness." (v. 9)

Why would He want my laughter to be turned to tears? Why should my joy be replaced with sorrow? Why this command to mourn? Mourn my sin. Mourn my foolishness. Mourn my lack of faith. Mourn my fallen flesh. Weep over the depravity of my life. Grieve because of who I am a part from Him.

And then the rest of the promise: "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up." (v. 10)

In the middle of the dryest desert, I long for Him. In the depths of the deepest pit, I reach for Him. Surrounded by the tossing waves, I search for Him. When I am broken before Him, desolate and humiliated, desparate and pleading...there He is. My fallen flesh witnesses His perfect presence. In this humbled state where I am face to face with the reality of my existence, He is near.

May this song minister to you as it has to me.
For your nearness Lord I hunger
For your nearness Lord I wait
Hold me ever closer Father
Such a love I can't escape

For your nearness I am hoping
For your nearness Lord I long
Have no need of any other
I have found where I belong
Yes, I have found where I belong

So draw me nearer Lord
Never let me go
Closer to your heart
Draw me nearer Lord
Draw me nearer Lord

In your nearness there is healing
What was broken now made whole
Restoration in its fullness
Lasting hope for all who come

In your nearness I take shelter
Where you are is where I'm home
I have need of only one thing
To be here before your throne
To be here before you throne

So draw me nearer Lord
Never let me go
Closer to your heart
Draw me nearer Lord

And keep me here, keep me here
There's nowhere else I rather be
So keep me here, keep me here
There's nowhere else I rather be

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