Who is available these days? (No, I don’t mean single.) How long does it take to finally make that phone call? To meet that friend for coffee? To schedule that dinner you’ve been trying to schedule for months?
We live in a culture that is so fast-paced that many of us feel as though we do not have time to make ourselves available to those around us (and vice-versa). It is really easy to live our lives thinking that we can be entirely independent and do everything ourselves. While there is much to be said in regard to community with people, today the aspect of availability that has been on my mind is our communion with our heavenly Father. I believe that sometimes we get so used to emotional isolation that we forget the incredible fullness of life that can be experienced in the presence of God. In a place of complacency we often don’t seek that kind of relational intimacy with Him.
Yet somewhere along the way, life has it’s way of being life and we find ourselves in a place of brokenness, desperation and strife. We feel lost, wondering where God is and why He won’t help us. When we have not practiced walking with the Love that is available to us every single second of every single day it’s no wonder we feel so isolated when the going gets tough. It is easy to believe that because God knows our thoughts and our situation, there is no need to talk to him about all of it.
Thoughts don’t equal prayer.
That seems like a pretty simple concept, but I realized in my own life that I had been letting the fact that God knows my thoughts keep me from asking for the things I needed. Knowing that God could see my situation kept me from bringing it before Him. Thoughts do not carry the same power as prayers that we pray. Which leads me to the point that I want to get to:
He is available to us.
God is nearer to us than our very breath. He is Jehovah-Shalom, the God of peace. He is Jehovah-Rophe, the God who heals. He is Jehovah-Nissi, our banner and victory. He is Father, Comforter, Friend. He is our Strength, our Wisdom, our Sustainer. God is Jehovah-Jireh, our provider. He is all of these things, and He is closer to us than the air we breathe. There could be no one better to confide in and rest with…and He has made himself available.
Our souls long for relationship. We long to be known. We long to be loved. We were created with these longings. Unless we live in intimate communion with the Father, rooted deeply in our identity in Him, we will not have the capacity to experience the full extent of what relationship is designed to be…whether with Him or with people. Intimacy with Him provides stability, peace, and joy.
So what is one of the biggest ways to walk in relationship with God?
Prayer. The phrase “prayer changes things” is easy to dismiss as a Christian cliche. It is only now that I have experienced very tangible ways of prayer making all the difference in the world that I know that phrase is a phrase for a reason.
It is a promise in His Word that when we ask we will receive.“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt. 7:7) God also promises that He is a good Father. He wants to bless us with good things. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)
We must have the boldness to ask. It takes courage to lay down our self-sufficiency. For me it is extremely uncomfortable to do so. I confess that I like appearing as though I have it all together. I want to be a place of stability for the people in my life. I like feeling as though I am in control of my circumstances. But the truth is that I am not. I don’t have it all together. I make mistakes. I mess stuff up. I fail. I am not always the person I portray.
But here is what Jesus has really been speaking to my heart.
It is a beautiful thing to need Him.
What a beautiful thing it is to need Jesus. Why would I think I can do just fine without Him? Why would I let my heart reduce the wonder and mercy of His sacrifice by living like I don’t need it? This is the reality…God can do more through my failure and brokenness than I could ever do if I had never failed or been broken. He has shown me more clearly than ever in this season that His purpose is to create something beautiful and whole out of the parts of me that are the most torn. I desire to be self-sufficient and get everything right the first time, but He desires a relationship with me in which He works all things together for my good and for His glory. How can the glory be His if I am trying to get all the glory for myself by being self-sufficient? How much more can He do with my imperfection than if He had chosen to let me be perfect? “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
He is not only available…He is constantly working on our behalf, creating beauty from ashes.
Sure, it is easier to hide. It is hard to let Him have our hearts…with every wound and every scar. It is difficult to open our hands and let Him have what we are holding onto for dear life. Easy is available. But maybe God has something better than easy. Maybe He has a glorious wholeness for each of us that can only be revealed through dependence on Him. Yes, easy is available. But true, life-giving, intimate relationship is also available.
God is available.
For you. Right now. Today. Tomorrow. Always. Sometimes pain teaches us how near He is. It reveals to us how much we have needed Him all along. So let us not forget the marvelous gift of intimacy with Him as we allow Him to transform every aspect of our lives…one day at a time.
Let us make ourselves available to receive.