I wake up each morning with the same invitation: Come close to Me. Once God has filled up my love tank, He calls me to a “come close” ministry with people who have been hurt by people who were supposed to be trustworthy and safe. Through time, trauma, and wounding, people from hard places have discovered that people are not safe, places are not safe, love is not safe, and closeness is definitely not safe.
When hurting people build up walls to keep others out, anxiety, loneliness, anger, and sadness can become overwhelming. When your controlling images of God, self, and others become distorted, then everyone and everything you see is “off.” When you turn away, and turn off, and filter everyone and everything through distorted lenses, you can cut yourself off from your sources of love, truth, help and healing.
Have you ever become so frustrated with God that you felt like giving up? Can you remember times when you just hated yourself and wanted to quit? Have there been times when you were so “done” with people that you built walls of mistrust and just tried to do everything on your own? Have you ever felt so alone that you just shut down and numbed your feelings? Although we’re made for connection and intimacy, we can become so skilled at being defensive that we ignore God, look away from people, and shut our own hearts off.
God has ways of breaking through our walls and defenses. He made us to communicate and connect even when we’re building a case against the very One we’re supposed to be close to. Here’s how it happened to David (Psalm 27). My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD I am coming.” Do not hide yourself from me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation! Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. Teach me how to live, O LORD. Lead me along the path of honesty, for my enemies are waiting for me to fall.
As I’m writing, I’m being flooded by songs God has written on my heart and on the hearts of other song and Psalm writers. Like this morning in worship. Before long, the floodgates of me heart burst open and all the burdens I’ve carried around burst into tears that just wouldn’t stop. God knows how to break through. He knows how to bring us to or knees. He knows how to draw us closer. He’ll use songs, people, circumstances, celebrations, deaths, pain, problems, and emotions. God doesn’t lack resources to get our attention and to draw us near. He never gives up; even when we feel like giving up.
God is like my Mom who helped me learn to see God in nature. God is like my Dad who makes time and turns everything into a song. God is like my wife who reminds me of everything that I forget. God is like my children who call and visit, make me laugh, ask me tough questions, and engage me in good conversations. God is like my friends who create what’s missing and needed, who help when things need fixed, and listen with a desire to know me. God is like my cat who wants things to be on his terms, not mine. God is like my grand dogs who lavish me with love and can’t wait to see me. God is like my prayer warriors who continuously intercede for God’s will to be done in and through my life. God is like my old neighbor who likes me to stop and visit so that he can talk with me. He always invites me in and he always wants to spend time with me and tell me what he knows. God is like the kids in my life who always want to play and pray and create with me. God is like the kids across the street who are always asking what I brought for us to do together. They are ready to hug me and like it when I chase after them. God is with the people who ask for my help reminding me that I’m made to continually turn to Him for direction and help. As David wrote, “My eyes are always looking to the LORD for help.” (Psalm 25: 15)
If you’re not okay, God knows. When you turn to God, He provides what’s missing and needed. He doesn’t look down on you like some people do. He wants to encourage you, build you up, and strengthen you. God wants to fill you with His joy and peace. God wants to draw you close to Him. He wants you to abide in Him and bear fruit that lasts with and for Him. We can’t do anything that matters without His help. Let’s respond today to His invitation to come closer to Him. The closer we become, the more we can walk in His freedom and in His love. How I thank God today for my Heavenly Father, my earthly fathers, and my teachers of all shapes, ages, and sizes. They teach me a lot!