September 22, 2009

How Can We Get Close to God?

James 4:7-12

Come near to God and he will come near to you.
James 4:8


What do you do when you can’t find God?

The Christian author C. S. Lewis searched for God during the illness of his wife without finding him. In his book A Grief Observed, Lewis wrote, “Meanwhile, where is God? … Go to him when your need is desperate … and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double-bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away.”

Many believers have searched for God without being able to find him. David, who wrote of the wonderful comfort of God in Psalm 23, also cried out in Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus said those same words on the cross (Matthew 27:46).

If for some reason you can’t seem to find God, let him know you can’t find him—and then listen. God is right where he always is. Lewis found that perhaps his own cries deafened him “to the voice [he] hoped to hear.” He wrote later, “I have gradually been coming to feel that the door is no longer shut and bolted. Was it my own frantic need that slammed it in my face?”

Accept God’s invitation: “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Come as you are, empty handed, and with a simple prayer. God is where we are. Says Jesus in John 6:37, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” It’s a sure promise.

Lord our God, show us your presence in our lives. Help us to trust that you will never let go of us. As you have promised, you will never forsake us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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