What’s your perception of God’s proximity to you? Does he seem far away? Does it appear to you that he’s distant and unengaged, uninterested in the heartaches or challenges you’re facing?
Paul says that no matter what our perception might be, there is only one truth. God is actually quite near. He’s much nearer than most of us ever realize. He’s immediately at hand.
God’s being near at hand is important, Paul writes. And there are vitally important blessings and benefits that come along with God being near to us.
- God’s nearness helps us maintain a joyful attitude at all times — no matter what the outward circumstances might be.
- God’s nearness allows us to be gentle in the toughest, most provocative situations.
- God’s nearness enables us to banish anxiety whenever it threatens to destabilize our mind.
- God’s nearness encourages us to talk to him in prayer, make requests, and say our “thank-you’s” when he helps us.
- God’s nearness gives us a peace that transcends reason, a peace that safeguards our heart and mind.
Paul concludes with the three most important words of all, “in Christ Jesus.” For us to understand and enjoy God’s nearness, we must have faith in Christ Jesus. Jesus communicates all these blessings — joy, gentleness, prayer and peace — through faith.
Jesus is the Son of God. He is our Lord and Savior. Nothing pleases him more than to grant us peace and joy. Nothing is more wonderful to him than to hear our voices in prayer. Nothing makes him happier than to see us imitate his gentle meekness.
And what makes all this possible is to know, by faith, that Jesus is near at hand.
And he is. Never forget it. Never lose sight of him. Because he’s right here at our side.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7, NIV).
Lord, help me to remember at all times how near at hand you are. And may your nearness be the source of my joy, peace, gentleness and vibrant prayer life.
Our Bible reading for Saturday, October 3, is Jeremiah 6:1 – 7:29, Philippians 4:2-23 and Proverbs 24:5-14.
Header image based on "Philippians 4:5-7" by Tyler Neyens, CC By 2.0