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The God Who Comes Close

Anybody else's kids been getting sick lately? It seems to be that time of year. This week our 2-year-old got hit with the stomach bug one afternoon. It seemed to come out of nowhere and made a great mess. Without getting into any more detail, there were in fact a few instances that made a great mess. We did a lot of laundry very quickly. For Amy and me, we've figured out how to do this together. When one or more kids are sick, one of us needs to stay close to them, provide the care they need, and clean up when necessary. Since Amy had already dealt with that a few nights earlier with another kid, it was my turn to spend the night keeping a close eye on him. So I slept on a mattress on the floor of his room so I was ready for anything at a moment's notice. As you can imagine, it was mostly a sleepless night. Especially when the kids are so young, it's a little heartbreaking to see them scared and sad because the whole experience is simply quite miserable. As he went through this miserable ordeal, he would often forget I was right next to him. He would wake up and cry out as if I were in the other room, then discover that I was right there.

 

This is much like how God relates to us. Sometimes when we are suffering, we don't realize God has already come so close to us. We cry out, thinking he's still far away, wondering where help and comfort will come from. We may not realize in the misery of the moment that God has been with us the entire time. Especially when God's children are suffering, he comes close to us, cares for us deeply, and helps to pick up the pieces of our broken and hurting lives. He does this most clearly in sending Jesus his Son into our world, to bear up our afflictions, heal our broken hearts, and establish peace in our world. We are not promised that through him we can expect health and wealth. Quite the contrary, we can expect suffering in this world. But it's through him that we know God has overcome the forces of evil. So through him we can suffer with the grace of Jesus in our hearts and upon our lips. As we go through this life, navigating all the challenges and burdens of each day, may we do so knowing that our God comes close to us, cares for us deeply, and is at work cleaning up this world for good. 

 

    "The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; 

        he delivers them from all their troubles. 

    The LORD is close to the brokenhearted 

        and saves those who are crushed in spirit." --Psalm 34:17–18.

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