January 05, 2006

How to Get Close to God: Come

James 4:1-10

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


It sounds so good on paper: God is where we are! But what do you do when you can't find God? What if God doesn't seem to be there for you? Some Christians struggle with that question. A high school senior wrote to me and said, "What do you do when God seems far away, and you're praying to an empty chair, and you're reading the Bible for your devotions, but you do it because you know you should, and it does not mean anything to you?" What do you do if you feel like that high schooler? Here's one idea: read and reread Psalm 139, and let it sink in. Then come near to the God who loves you and knows everything about you. That's what James says: "Come near to God and he will come near to you." Throughout the Bible God invites us to come. The Lord invites us to come and reason together (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus invites the weary to come to him and find rest (Matthew 11:28-29), and he promises that he will never drive us away (John 6:37). We have to come just as we are--empty-handed. Come and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to save us from our sins. Before you go to sleep tonight, ask Jesus to come into your heart. If you really want him to, he will respond. The One who died for you will never drive you away.

Lord God, give us the grace to respond to your invitation to come. Accept us as we come to you, just as we are, and assure us of your love shown for us in Jesus. 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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