Friday, October 16, 2009

Near Perfect

I have a friend whose heart is soft and gentle as morning rain, a man strong in conviction and purpose, a husband and dad who long ago accepted God’s command to love the Father with all his heart and soul and mind, and to love his neighbor as himself.

I have discovered one of his secrets to maintaining conscious contact with his Creator. It is fixed on his heart because for a long time, he’s had it fixed on the dash of his car. It’s written on a little card wedged into the gauges and control knobs so he can read it while waiting in line at the drive-thru, while stopped in traffic, while at a red light.

I want every detail,
of every circumstance,
of every moment,
of every day,
to awaken my heart
to the reality of God and His nearness.
I want to see
and sense
and savor
the nearness of God
in all things.

We live “brinksman” lifestyles. I like that word, that phrase. It’s tossed around often in foreign policy circles, but it hits us where we live. We manipulate dangerous situations to unsafe limits, trying to gain an advantage. We create one crisis to avoid or lessen another. And we keep running into brick walls. That’s the real us.

But to think of God’s nearness is to demand of myself a clear image of what I’m about. Without Him, I’m rushing toward failure. With Him, I’m protected by mercy, purified by grace, powered by hands that scattered stars.

To know God’s nearness is to run on a heavenly timetable, to rest in a divine peace, to remember an eternal hope, to lean on arms everlasting.

“Kinder, gentler thoughts prevail,” my friend told me, “when I continually admit to God's reality and His nearness.”

Philippians 4:5 -- Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Psalm 73:28 -- But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge…