I was talking with some friends recently about the way we approach God. Some described how, at times, they have felt the need to apologise to God for bothering him – as if he was too busy to possibly handle the requests and demands of all his children.
I guess this is one of the mysteries about God. How exactly can he can love the whole world, individually, all at once, in the way that he does?…
But the Bible does reassure us that God is a God of intimacy – one who draws close to us despite our sin and his incredible holiness. He even takes up residence within us – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, changing us from the inside out.
When we feel distance from God it really is our own doing. We walk away. We choose other gods. We feel shame. We don’t feel like drawing close to him.
Psalm 139 is a rich, beautiful passage which describes how God surrounds us, protects us, knows us – even though we don’t claim to know him. It describes how we try and run from the light that is our Creator God:
“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
I tried to hide from God once – I mean, really hide. But his light found me. This passage reminds me that darkness is no barrier for God. His mighty light will certainly penetrate it, no matter how black and dirty and shameful it is. He sent his son Jesus to wash it away after all.
And Jesus knows the temptations we struggle with. He had them too. Hebrews 4:15 says:
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.”
In sending Jesus, God showed that he is not remote from suffering, sin, and darkness. He entered in as a perfect man, paved the way back to the Father, and paid the price our sins deserve.
Verse 16 continues:
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
God is sitting on his throne – yes. He is powerful, majestic, holy – the King of the whole world. He will not be mocked. But he’s also a God who enters into our lives and hearts – intimately. Ultimately he’s a God who invites us to approach him – not hesitantly, but confidently. We can know – without a doubt – that grace will be found in the seat of that throne. Grace to help us – grace to heal. And a love that will outlast every other.