Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankfulness That God Is Near

There is a thought that if God was not so hidden and so far off but was near to us, then everyone would believe in Him. But it is the Christian belief that He is not simply far off, but He came down to help us. And when He did so, He was not welcomed and accepted but rejected and crucified.

There was a song popular not that long ago that described God as watching us from a distance. One thing we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving season is that this is not the God of the Bible. God is not someone who sits up in His ivory tower deploring the state we are in and hoping we learn to do better. Rather, Scripture says that God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) in order to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

When I was young my father used to like to take us out on old dirt roads to explore. And occasionally we would manage to get stuck. The area around where I grew up was loose sand, and once your wheels started spinning, they kept digging down until the truck was high-centered and you had to dig your way out. Now if someone stood on a nearby knoll and yelled down advice, he might be helpful. If it was useful advice we could even be grateful. But if someone grabbed a shovel and came down and helped us dig, we would be more grateful. But God comes down to where we are with a big truck and a winch, gets out of the truck and hooks the winch’s cable to our bumper, and pulls us out. (We can decide whether to let Him, but that’s another story). Therefore, we have a God who can understand us, for He Himself has been there and has come down to our level (except for sinning), that we might come boldly into the presence of God (Hebrews 4:14-16). And He promises to be with us through our problem,s not watching from afar off (Matthew 28:20; 2 Timothy 4:17).

But sometimes we as Christians, who have heard the story so many times, can start to take it for granted. We can forget how incredible it is that the One whose glory the heavens declare (Psalms 19:1), the One who created and sustains all things (Colossians 1:15-17), emptied Himself and took on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:5-11), that He might reconcile all things to Himself (Colossians 1:20-22). Let us not lose our sense of wonder as we remember this. And if we do not, we will have something truly to be thankful for.

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