Always Near

Little children are trusting, fairly innocent, and pretty creative when allowed to let their imaginations soar. Jesus recognized these traits in little ones when He welcomed them to His side against His disciples’ inclinations to keep them away. He also told them that people who have the faith of a little child would enter the kingdom of heaven. While there are other Scripture passages that address maturing in faith and not remaining like an infant in our walk with the Lord, it is clear that childlike faith is warranted for a true relationship with God.
I was raised in a church that read the Scriptures in Liturgical fashion every Sunday, but the beauty of a personal relationship with Christ was not emphasized as much as following church doctrine and ordinances. I was taught about Jesus, but not necessarily about Jesus’ sacrifice for me that purchased eternity for all who believe in who He is and receive His magnificent gift of salvation. Still, I hold a precious memory of an action that I took as a child that may have been key in my future walk with the Lord.
When my brother and I were growing up, we adored one type of toy above all others – stuffed animals. They all had names, personalities, and even unique voices that we bestowed on each. We took them on sailing adventures on our couch-boat, had them do telethons with our little reel-to-reel recorder, and treated them like family. Because they were so near and dear, I’d say about ten occupied my twin bed space with me. We were a cozy bunch. There was one other occupant, however, whom I invited to spend the night with us. I remember scooting over as close to the wall as possible with all my animals squished in between and inviting Jesus to occupy the space next to me. I guess I thought He needed a place to rest His head, and as my teddies, bunnies and other varied stuffed animal friends already knew how to share limited quarters, we certainly had room for just one more, especially God’s Son. It was very special to think that He could be so near and that perhaps He could spend the night with a little girl like me.
Little did I know then that Jesus desired for me to ask Him to occupy another space – the room in my heart. My journey toward a saving faith in Him was long and slow, though because of His diligent pursuit of me, very sure. It is interesting to think that while I welcomed Him to be near when I was young, He was near all along. He stayed by me patiently waiting for me to respond in the way that He intends: to become a part of His family through faith in Him.
Psalm 145:13b-19 (ESV) assures us that He is near and that he is ever watching over us and caring for us.
“The LORD is faithful in all His words and kind in all His works.
The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His works.
The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him;
He also hears their cry and saves them.”
In this season that focuses on Christ’s entrance into the world, let us remember that He is still near. He came as Immanuel, God with us, and He remains so today. James 4:8 (ESV) says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” Celebrate how He came to always be by your side. And if you have never accepted His gift of salvation, make this the time when you receive the greatest gift ever given by employing childlike faith to have a relationship with the God of the universe through His precious Son. May God bless you with a wonderful Christmas holiday!
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