Draw Near to God, He is already Near to You

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Recently I thought I had too much on my plate. I exercised my ability to say “no”, and took my day off seriously. Looking to the future: I tossed the idea of cutting down my hours at work. I wanted to work on future details of our family, make our house a home, and visit my family back home more.

None of that was the plan, for now.

In a recent turn of events I was asked to take on more of a leadership role at the Church, with more responsibility, with pay cuts and budget cuts all across the board for our church.

So. I dropped my plans and fell on my face before Jesus. He has been my Rock. I have peace. I have joy. I am brave.

I know God will make it possible for me to plan our future as a family, cook, clean, plan visits, have people over, take care of our pets, enjoy life… all while taking on this important calling. I just need to listen to His voice.

I’m ashamed to say in these times of turmoil… they are the sweetest times of worship for me.

Why can’t I seem to be this close to my Lord during the good times?

I realized today that I find the most peace and joy in the trials– not because God has changed, but because I have. Tweet this.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you {HE IS already close by}. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8


A New Story Representing Trials

This is a blog post I did on a facebook note in 2012 but I’m re-reading this and learning so much from the “past me” today.


A New Story Representing Trials

April 3, 2012 at 9:47am

In Genesis 6 God saw that His creation was corrupt and violent and non-repentant. So with a heavy heart he decided to destroy the earth He created. I know it’s with such a heavy heart because of who God is. He says several times in this passage the people “that had the breath of life in them”- which to me sounds like He is reminding us all that we are made in His image and that we have two choices: follow and love Him or suffer eternal separation form Him through death (which would be exactly what we wanted if we don’t love Him anyway).

I know God wanted to display his righteous image-bearers because at the very end of the story of the flood he sends a rainbow and then says, “I have set my bow in the cloud and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and earth… I will remember my covenant… and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh…. whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His OWN Image.”So how does He do it?

Not a quick word of the mouth to speak destruction into existence or a wave of the hand- he uses a mere man and his handiwork through building a boat. I think the great flood symbolizes a tide to wash away sin and begin again. It’s so sad that we constantly tell God through our actions and lack of relationship with Him that we wish to be apart from him as humans. It also symbolizes how tiny and helpless we really are without God. Do we really think that Noah’s boat (although impressive by the way God describes it in His love letter to us) would really save all those animals and his family from a great flood?

I studied about Glacial Lake Missoula from NOVA and a lot of scientists who believe the earth is millions upon millions of years old. They found these large rolling hills in the Northwest that appeared to be giant ripples (like underwater ripples at the beach) on the ground from an aerial view. So they began to study how a glacial lake could’ve exploded to cause what they call a Mega-flood. God’s flood is what I call it- but if you look at thishttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9PL9ZnMy3w and cue it up to 11:30 (excuse me being a humongous dork here)- there is a computer animated version of what a mega-flood of only the Northwest would look like. Can you imagine this happening over the entire earth?

All that to say- Noah’s ark wouldn’t have just survived that because he built it well. God surrounded their family and those animals with protection. I know this because of God’s character, and because in verse 16 of chapter 7 it says “… they went in as God commanded them, and the Lord (their master) shut them in.”


But I think Noah may have been scared. It wasn’t just 40 days and 40 nights, a little over a month- that those people were in that ark. It was an entire year. In less than 40 days, the people who had never seen rain saw earth turned into one giant ocean planet– where all the tallest mountains were covered with water and the “fountains of the great deep burst forth” v. 11 of chapter 7. It says that Noah was 600 years old, in the second month on the seventeenth day when this happened. I would have been so scared. I wonder if at times during the 150 days “the waters prevailed upon the face of the earth” how scared Noah and his family were. I mean, in a boat, moving, for 150 days with no sunshine, no ground, no earth to rest on. I’d be crazy in that boat. I’d be asking “Hey God, I know you’ve said you’ll be there, and I took this Giant leap of faith, and sent my family plummeting through the waves crashing in a wooden boat… hey… are You still there??”

My favorite verse in the whole story comes after those 150 crazy days and nights, in verse 1 of chapter 8: “But God remembered Noah…” God remembered! Almost as if to sound (in our finite minds) like God was so busy wreaking havoc upon His creation that He had to stop and “remember” those He promised to spare… but it really shows us how faithful He is to us during times of trial. Whether Noah knew it or not, his teeny little boat was not their saving grace. It says God caused a great wind to blow over the whole earth to dry up the waters. I’m thinking this wind must have also been amazing and powerful- because the ocean’s pretty windy… and I’ve never seen one just dry up. Let alone a whole ocean planet. But He’s God.

It says after those 150 days God caused the ark to rest on Mount Ararat. But before all that happened, after the 40 days and nights were up- the Bible tells us that Noah was sending out birds to test what was going on.

I’m no Bible scholar… but to me it sounds like Noah was trying to take things into his own hands because God had not spoken. How often do we do that? The raven returned, and so did the dove because they had no where to rest their foot. But the second time the dove returned with an olive branch, I think God sent that as a glimmer of hope that there was greenery growing and the waters were subsiding. But no real action is taken until God says so.

Verse 13 of chapter 8 says “In the Six hundred and first year (a whole year later!!) and in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth, and Noah removed the covering to the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month (aka; hello all you readers… it has been a LONG trial for Noah!! Sound familiar??)– the earth had dried out. (Can you imagine how deep the mud had been before- in the first month? If they tried to step out before waiting for God’s command- they’d probably have sunk in too deep.) **here’s my favorite part**– Then GOD said to Noah, ‘Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you.”

God does not go back on His promises. He protects those He loves and He desires all to come to know Him and have a close relationship with Him. He doesn’t want our works or possessions (Cain), or some of our money (Annanias and Saphira)… he wants our hearts. Can you imagine the worship service that broke forth after Noah and all his family got off the ark, saw the new green buds beginning to grow, all the animals roaming around, and that beautiful rainbow in the sky? If that story doesn’t make you want to run to His arms during a time of trial, I don’t know what will. He’s truly a powerful God!