butterfly-199115_1280By Dr. Harold Sala

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  James 4:8a, NKJV

Deep within your heart is there a yearning to know God better, to draw near to Him, to feel closeness and an intimacy which you are lacking?  Have you ever considered the fact that what you feel–that deep longing to connect with Him–was put there by God Himself, not to make you miserable but to bring you to Him, just as thirst drives you to the clear, satisfying spring?

Some are driven to that point of wanting a closer relationship with God by need–say, an illness that makes you wonder if you are going to pull through, or a challenge to your safety (you wonder if you are going to survive financially or even perhaps physically).   As the great ship Titanic began to list and it became obvious it was sinking, the dance orchestra stopped playing, and then as someone began playing “Nearer My God to Thee,” the rest of the orchestra played as people sang and prayed.

Some are pushed to that desire to know God better through guilt over wrongdoing. They know better–much better–than they have done, and looking back over a rather sordid page in their lives, they ask, “How could I ever have done what I did?”  Their actions surprise even themselves.

Others get to that point of wanting to know God simply because they have found God to be good and want to see their love for Him increase and grow.  Actually, that’s the way this thirst for God works, and the strange thing about it is that the more satisfied you become with God and the more you know Him and love Him, the greater is your thirst to know and love Him even more.  It’s an unending satisfaction, unlike a full meal which makes you think, “I’ll never want to eat again!”

Many of the hymns and songs of the faith over a long period reflect that deep longing in the human heart to draw closer to God.  I think of the lovely words of the hymn written by Elizabeth Prentiss in 1856, which go, “More love to thee, O Christ,/ More love to thee!/  Hear thou the prayer I make On bended knee;/ This is my earnest plea, More love, O Christ to thee,/ More love to thee, More love to thee.”

In the same generation a blind woman who saw more through spiritual eyes than did most others with vision, wrote, “I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice, / And it told thy love to me;/ But I long to rise in the arms of faith, And be closer drawn to thee./ Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord, To the cross where thou has died;/ Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,/ To thy precious bleeding side.

If God put that longing in your heart to draw near to Him, then how do you do it?  Is it an impossible dream, something you would like but which is not possible?  You can.  Here’s how.  First, you need to overcome your fear of God.  It is this that probably stops more people than anything else. Your feelings of guilt, your sense of inadequacy, your thinking that you aren’t good enough, can stop you from what you want and what God desires even for you.  God gave us a promise in His Word, one found in James 4:8, which says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8, NKJV).

The thirst you have in your heart for God needs to be satisfied, and the desire that is there to draw near to Him is the magnetic pull of your soul that can be satisfied only by connecting with God.  Thank God for that thirst which only He can satisfy.

Resource reading: James 4:1-8.