Draw Near to God and He Will Draw Near to You
I have had a very blessed life and my Christian faith has given me much joy. But I have a sin or a fault that hangs onto my life and I have not been able to stop doing it no matter how hard I have tried. This sin has haunted me for as long as I can remember. My big sin is worrying. And becoming very anxious in certain situations.
Long ago I accepted the fact that sometimes I become very fearful and anxious. It was just who I was, I told myself. It was only normal for me to be fearful in this broken world. There was nothing I could do about it since being anxious was part of my makeup, I told myself. I was always miserable when these anxiety attacks would come, but then what could I do? I prayed and told the Lord that I had tried and tried, and I didn’t have the strength to get rid of my fears by myself.
All my life I have covered over my fears and pretended to the outside world that I was normal. I would tell myself that someday in heaven Jesus would finally change me – make me into a new person in Him – and then these miserable panic attacks would finally be gone.
But then one day something happened! A still small Voice inside my head spoke to me and whispered that I didn’t have to wait till heaven to get rid of my panic attacks. That Jesus can start changing me now! Start making me into that “new person” in Him now! He can give me His courage in the places where I have no courage of my own. And that He can give me His peace, when I am fearful and have no peace!
Soon after that, a situation came along that made me anxious. As always, I again felt myself being gripped by my dark forebodings and fears. I had no peace of my own, just sick nervous fear. Then I remembered that Jesus promised His peace to His followers and believers. (John 14:27) Shouldn’t I ask for what He has promised me?
So, in the middle of my terrible fears, I started praying: “Jesus, give me Your peace.” “Jesus, give me Your peace.” This short little prayer seemed to be my lifeline. I prayed this little prayer slowly over and over believing that He was giving me His peace right then, right when I needed it most. I pictured Him, my Savior, bending over and lovingly and generously giving me His provisions – His courage and His peace. My fears seemed to lose their grip and His warm peace enveloped me. How safe and secure I felt in His presence. What a victory!
I wonder now why I spent so many years not developing a closer walk with Jesus. And so many years trying on my own to stave off my worries and panic attacks. And why I never learned to completely rest in His Presence or ask the Lord for His peace and strength, believing and thanking Him for giving them to me. Scripture says that we will find the Lord when we search for Him with our whole hearts. (Hebrews 11:6b) Deuteronomy 4:29: Jeremiah 29:13)
Jesus has called us all to pursue a close walk with Him. He is always near and ready to strengthen and help us. But He wants us to really want Him. (Song of Solomon) When we walk with Him, Scripture says that He takes great delight in us. The Bible says: ”The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Scripture says: “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning to Me and in resting in Me you shall be saved: in quietness and confidence in Me shall be your strength.” But you would not.” (Isaiah 30:15) How sad when Israel would not take the time to worship and trust in their God. Let’s not miss out walking closely with our Savior and Lord because we refuse to spend quality time before Him in prayer and worship and waiting on Him.
I have always found great strength and comfort in standing on the promises in God’s Word. But I have been guilty of not spending time waiting on Him in prayer. Not closely walking with the Lord. We need to do both of these things.
Some of my favorite Bible Scriptures are: “My sheep listen to My Voice: I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one can snatch them out of My Hand.” (John 10:27-28) And: “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He (God) shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)
More favorite verses are: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end: they are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) And “The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (Psalms 145:14) And: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone: my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation: He is my fortress; I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:5-6)
And: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) And: “You show me the path of life, and in Your presence is fullness of joy: at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11) “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
You have different needs than I do. But Jesus knows just what you need and how to lift you up. If we will take the time to pursue a close walk with Jesus every day, He will change us and mature us in Him. He will give us the desires of our hearts if they are in His will.
If we listen for His Voice, we will hear Him speaking to our hearts. He delights in disclosing Himself to us if we take time to open up to Him. And sometimes He displays His unseen Presence in subtle ways. Take time to find Him in the details of your day. Ask Him to use you where He wants to use you. Fill your heart and mind with Scripture because He reveals Himself to us through Scripture. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8) It will be a glorious adventure.