Pet owners know how our fur kids draw near to us at every opportunity. On your lap if you’re sitting. In the bend of your knees, if you’re reclining. Even lying on your foot under the dinner table.
In response, we reach down and stroke their fur, scratch their ears and gaze into eyes, loving and warm.
If only human relationships were this uncomplicated.
And what about our relationship with God?
What about my relationship with God?
My young ears heard mixed messages, ranging from, “Jesus loves me, this I know” to the polar opposite of “God has a big card catalog recording every last one of your sins.”
I wasn't one to ask a lot of questions. The result early on was that I liked Jesus, but God not so much.
Actually, not at all.
Why not? Because I saw God a meanie, gargantuan and scary, ready to point His big accusing finger at me for the smallest misstep!
As I came into adulthood, I worked hard to banish those childish images. I wanted to see God with my own eyes.
So, I gazed at God from a distance.
If I were wandering in a spiritual wilderness, God was the campfire that invited me to comfort and safety. I was mesmerized by the light, the warmth and the ever changing patterns of the flames of God’s existence.
But still I was afraid.
If I came closer, how would my life change? Who would I be?
My eyes were trained in His direction, but I kept my distance.
Until one particular day when I could make out the shapes of other people around the fire.
Standing in the shadows, I could see there were people of all ages gathered around the fire. I even recognized some of their voices as people I knew.
I moved a bit closer, eyes focused, until I was beginning to feel the warmth of the fire, or was it my imagination?
Closer again, I moved until the light became brighter still. I recognized the faces of friends of all ages. They were smiling and laughing, comfortable in their close proximity to the Almighty.
Then one particular friend spotted me and called my name, motioning for me to join them. Slowly, I made my way through dry leaves and twigs into the circle of the fire’s light. No one seemed surprised to see me. It was almost as if they’d been expecting me.
In an instant, the circle of friends expanded, making space for me to sit. That’s the way it is in God’s house. There’s always room.
Having settled comfortably into the circle and looking from one friendly face to another, I relaxed and basked in the warm glow.
After a while, I noticed a kind of pressure on my right foot. When I looked down, there, on my foot, was my friend’s precious pooch, having come to welcome me into the fold. I reached down and scratched her ear. She gazed up at me with loving eyes
James 4: 8 reads, in part, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
Just like the magnetic power of our loving pets or of a warm campfire or of a magnificent sunset, or any other spiritually moving object, event or phenomenon you can name, there is magnetism between God and people.
We were created by Him and for His glory. When we move toward God, He moves toward us. And there is nothing quite so beautiful in all of creation.
Lord, thank You for puppies and kitties and campfires and sunsets and all Your boundless blessings. Amen.