September 10, 2018
Weekly Reflection – Close to God
I have been thinking about being close to God because the theme this year of a church near my home is “To be near God is my happiness.” The pastor said he chose it because he seems happiest when he is near God. In fact, he was so bubbly when explaining the theme to some young people that he composed a song with those words, on the spot! Music just flowed from his heart. “To be near God is my happiness. To be near God is my happiness.” As I reflected on this theme, I was reminded of Psalm 73:25-28.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heat and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.”
And of course, James writes in James 4:8 that when we draw near to God, God draws near to us.
It strikes me that drawing near to God produces more than just happiness. It also gives us the strength to practice what James calls pure religion. “Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27 NIV). There are so many times that I have failed to practice those two simple commands effectively. And it strikes me that it is only when I am close to God that I have the where with all to do what Jesus has told us to do.
Draw near to God, and he will give you whatever it takes to do his will! One of my chaplain mentors used to tell young chaplains that, “I want everything I come in contact with to be affected by the presence of God in my life.” The longer I live, the more I realize how true that simple statement is. It is the presence of God that brings joy to my heart and unleashes the power I need to care for others (and myself).
Yes, to be near God is my happiness. May we all strive to draw nearer to God this week, being close to God. Then he will probably do the rest!
Blessings and peace,
Read more reflections, Staying With Jesus