Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8/ESV)
One book that always brings a smile to my face is Children’s Letters to God by Hample and Marshall (1991).1 The book contains a collection of innocent and honest questions that I think many people ponder, but only children are brave enough to ask. One letter by a little girl named Jane reads, “In Sunday School they told us what you do. Who does it when you are on vacation?” As amusing as the question is, don’t we all feel like God is far away from us sometimes; like He has gone on vacation?
At times, as we navigate the storms of life, it can be difficult to sense God’s guiding hand. We may feel like God is far away from us, but the truth is; God hasn’t moved at all. He promises to be our ever-present help in time of need. All that we need to do to feel God’s presence again is to draw close to Him. In the Gospel, according to Luke, we find a man in a similar situation.
In Luke 19, as Jesus passed through the city of Jericho, the crowds were so dense that a man named Zacchaeus could not get to a place where he could see. Desperate to see Jesus, Zacchaeus climbed a tree and waited for Jesus to pass by. Luke wrote, “When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.'”
What we see in this story is that, when Zacchaeus sought to draw closer to Jesus, Jesus drew Himself even closer to Zacchaeus. God desires to be close to us. He desires an intimate and personal relationship with each of us, and He wants us to seek to draw closer to Him. When we are going through the storms of life, we have a choice. We can either turn our focus to the storm, or we can turn it to God. God promises that when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.
What a greater blessing could there be in times of heartache and sorrow than to feel, even stronger, the presence and the comfort of Almighty God?
1. Hample, S. & Marshal, E. (1991). Children’s Letters to God. New York, NY: Workman Publishing.