Keeping our distance is a good way to stay safe from things that would threaten our safety–
–another vehicle on the road
–a live wire
–a wild animal
We tell our children, “Don’t get too close; you might get hurt.”
On the other hand, how could we as humans relate to one another without getting close enough to communicate and express affection? When we get close to someone, it’s true that we are making ourselves vulnerable to hurt, but we are also opening ourselves to love. I’m reminded of back in the 60’s and 70’s when cars were made with bench seats in the front. Often one would see what we called a “two-headed driver”—a couple sitting as close to each other as possible while the guy drove!
What about getting close to God? If you’ve read or seen the tales of Narnia, you will recall that most beloved character Aslan, the great lion that symbolizes Jesus Christ. When the four children first hear the Beavers talking about Aslan, they ask, “Is he quite safe?” The answer was, “’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” And all through the seven books, the children take great delight in being as near as possible to Aslan. Real love of God will overcome our fears and give us the greatest joy and security.
These are some of the my thoughts as I read this short article by Dr. Harold J. Sala in his book Today Counts:
I’ve been thinking about our lives in relationship to God. Often we don’t want to be too far away from Him, but neither do we want to get so close that He can easily get to us. A comfort zone is okay. After all, it’s good to be on the side of God but just don’t get too carried away with this business of religion.
Why are we afraid of getting too close to God, or letting Him get too close to us? There are three clusters of fear that keep us on the spiritual beltway – neither too close nor too far away.
Fear 1: You can never really please God, so why try? A lot of folks – especially those who have had parents whose expectations were difficult to meet – think they can never be good enough or spiritual enough for God to receive them and fully love them.
Fear 2: You will lose control of your life if you allow God to get close to you. The issue of “who is in charge” keeps lots of people on spiritual beltway. Yes, they want to be close enough to get God’s attention when things get desperate but not so close that they can’t make a spiritual detour.
Fear 3: You will be asked to do something you don’t like and to stop doing something you like but God dislikes. But most of our fears are irrational and without foundation. God is a loving Father who wants the best for us.
When you understand who God is and how compelling is His desire to have fellowship with you, you quickly abandon the beltway of your comfort and strive to move towards the presence of the Almighty.