A number of years ago during a time of deep sorrow in my life, I cried out to the Lord in the sanctuary of a church where I was attending a seminar.
The verse that came to mind was:
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” James 4:8 NIV
Although at the time I liked to think of myself as a person who was close to God, I knew deep down I often held back from the Lord—especially during times of highest stress. I realized that on too many occasions when God whispered, “Come here, my child,” I would take several steps back.
On this particular day, I determined that with all my heart, I wanted to learn how to draw near to God–to let go of the mistrust that still seemed to haunt me.
As I waited before the Lord that day, He spoke these words to my heart—
ELAINE, DO NOT DESPAIR. I AM ANSWERING YOUR EARLIER PRAYER TO HEAL THE HURT CHILD WITHIN. TO DO THIS, YOU NEED TO FEEL THE PAIN YOU RAN FROM AS A CHILD–THE PAIN YOU TRIED TO COVER WITH FOOD. FEEL THE PAIN. CRY THE TEARS. DO NOT FEEL ASHAMED TO FEEL HURT. LET THE PAIN DRAW YOU CLOSER TO ME. I WANT TO EASE YOUR PAIN AS NO ONE ELSE CAN. TRUST ME. LET ME HOLD YOU IN MY ARMS. SURRENDER TO MY LOVE. RECEIVE THE KISSES I HAVE FOR YOU.
“Oh Lord I want to do these things. Show me how,” was my reply.
ELAINE YOU STAYED HERE IN THE SANCTUARY INSTEAD OF RUNNING OFF WITH YOUR LOVER, FOOD. (We were told we could stay or go for refreshments in another room.) YOU ARE DRAWING CLOSE TO ME, AND I AM WELL-PLEASED.
God show me as I lingered in His presence that I was afraid to draw close to Him because I feared change and pain, and not being in control. I saw that drawing close to God was about saying, “God, You be in control.”
Today as I read what I wrote years ago, I can see how far I have come in drawing near to the Lord. More and more in difficult times, I run to Him instead of stepping back until the pain goes away or until I feel I have things figured out. I have learned to embrace Psalm 73:28:
But as for me, it is good to be near God, I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge…NIV
One thing I’ve discovered as I determine to remain close to the Lord and let loose of those things that entice me away from Him is that God is delighted when I draw near. It was my children moving away from the closeness we once had and then drawing near to me again that has made this truth so clear to me.
The closer I move toward God, the more I see that He can be trusted. It is during those “close times” that I feel flooded by His amazing love and compassion for me.
What about you? What is holding you back from drawing near to God? Today will you pray a prayer telling God you are willing to learn to draw close to Him? You’ll be so glad when you experience the beauty of that closeness God longs to have with you.