Ever since the shattering brick of sin crashed our world, the sweet song of shalom (the Hebrews called this wholeness or all-embracive closeness to the creation and creator) has become a moan of separation and painful distance.
Sorry for being such a downer.
Some of you want to remain insulated from fragmented reality inside of the thin bubble of your distractions and fragile defenses.
So do I.
It’s comfy inside our bubbles of make-believe wholeness.
We construct artificial nearness through evaporating embraces (usually through the misuse of substances, stuff and sex) instead of experiencing solid nearness with God.
I spend so much energy manipulating and manufacturing in my little world so that it feels like a hug rather than hell.
God buried a treasured line from an ancient lyric (Psalm 145:18) to act as a pin to pierce and pop our pretending related to the world being made whole (shalom) by our own efforts.
Let’s read the lyric, and in this post simply swim in the embrace and nearness of God.
In the next post we will emerge from the near embrace of God and have a conversation covering four specific ways to connect to those that are far away from—disconnected from God.
Here is the lyric: ESV Psalm 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Two sections of this song will disclose the closeness of God:
Here is the first: “The Lord is near to all who call on him.”
Calling on God is the lever that brings God near.
This reminds me of a story.
Have you ever used a call bell in a hospital?
Before I became a pastor I spent many years answering call bells as a nurse.
As I sat at the nurse’s station trying to decipher the difficult handwriting of a doctor, the moans of the sick ricocheted down the halls.
Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.
A steady ring would ding and ding to call me to the bedside
Listen to the lyric again:
The Lord is near to all who call on Him.
Distance is destroyed by the simple calling out to God.
He is near--As near as a nurse holding your hand, ready to hear your concern.
Are you like me?
I rarely call on God.
And I wonder why God feels so far, far away.
My patients over the years would often call because of pain.
Pain pounded on them and in them and they could not stop it or control it or placate it.
They pushed that call bell to experience the presence of another.
I would enter their pain with my presence (and if they were lucky a syringe of pain-eradicating happy juice).
God does this with us.
He comes near when we call and enters our pain with his presence to bring shalom.
Secondly, calling on God is to be continuous not sporadic.
All of us are to call on him in truth.
What does that mean? “In truth.”
A Jewish person would use this phrase if something was to be done over and over and over and over again.
It does not mean truth instead of a lie.
Instead “in truth” means continuous and constant rather than sporadic or occasional.
The phrase was used of an artist’s hand that continuously and steadily painted with precision and patience.
Do you call out to God in this way?
I sure don’t.
I usually call out when the going gets tough. When my self-manufactured, manipulated bubbles burst and I want a solution.
We were made for so much more than an episodic embrace by our good God.
We can and must call on Him constantly to discuss every detail.
When we call, he cozies up to us like a dad with his little daughter or son and soaks in our every word.
Call out to Him today.
Then call out to him in the middle of the day and at night and tomorrow.
I can already sense His nearness.
Gotta go. I want to luxuriate in the nearness of God by calling out to Him.
Metro North Church