A God Who Is Near



It’s the most wonderful time of the year… at least according to me! I got up this morning and pulled on a warm, fuzzy robe. We’re still holding onto summer enough to keep our windows open all night, but that means that things are rather frigid by the time we get up in the morning! Today, there was a light layer of frost on everything that sparkled like diamonds when the sun poked his head above the horizon.

It’s that season – my favorite season – that brings us colored leaves, deep blue skies, apple and pumpkin everything, the scent of cinnamon and baked things, wearing sweaters and scarves to take off the chill. There is so much I love about the change of summer into winter – that beautiful season we call autumn!

Here in North Dakota, the fall can seem much too short, so I’m determined to enjoy every moment of it. There are lots of people that mourn the loss of their summer and can’t believe we are going into another hard winter. And while I’m not quite ready to go into another sub-zero winter, I do love fall! I love the scents, the tastes, the colors, and maybe to a very small degree, even the change.

Change is an inevitable part of our lives. In the past two years, my life has gone through an incredible amount of change. I went from living in Francistown, Botswana (right on the edge of the Kalahari) to living in Grand Forks, ND (regarded by most as the second coldest city in the US). Two years ago, I often shopped for tropical fruit in the grocery store and local markets; now I’m surrounded by grain silos and beet factories. Before I drove with caution because of all the cows, goats, and chickens roaming the roads; now I drive with caution because there is ice on the roads for a good 7-8 months of the year. Before I was a daughter; now I’m a wife. After being in the same church for my entire life, I have now changed churches. My responsibilities, my friends, my schedule… so much has changed!

Yes, there were many changes, some good and some hard. Some changes seemed so difficult at the time, and now that I have some distance from them, I can see how beneficial they have been for me. And there are some days when I still miss Africa and Pennsylvania. I’m trying hard to learn to be a North Dakota girl, but there are some parts of me that will always been Pennsylvanian. 😉a god who is near quote 1

Even in all the changes of the past two years, there has been one thing that has stayed constant and has always been on my mind: I am so glad that we serve a God who is near.

Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that they name is near thy wondrous works declare. –Psalm 75:1

Even when all the changes around us seem to be good ones, it can still seem unsettling to us. As humans, we like things to stay the same. Even those of us with a more adventurous streak find comfort in at least knowing what to expect. Even those good changes can catch us slightly off guard and make our footing uncertain. What a blessing it is to know that we can put our trust in God, even when circumstances seem to change around us.

In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. –Psalm 71:1

The Psalms are full of the petitions of the Psalmist. Dozens, maybe even hundreds of times, he calls out to God and asks God to hear what he is saying. Do you think God listened? Of course He did. We can always trust that God will be there to hear us when we call. He is near! He is ready to listen!

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. –Psalm 61:1-3

I don’t know what changes will be on my horizon for this next year, but I do know one thing: There will be changes! As much as we might try to say, “NOW my life is perfect. God, can I just stay right here?” that is unlikely to happen. God knows that change is part of this human life, and is even necessary in the process of us to be made more like Christ. But just as I know that changes will come, I know that my God will be near to me. I can’t imagine going through life without Him!

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. –Psalm 68:19

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