Last night I dreamed I was in a crowd of people in a store. We were pressed together in a small space and I knew I was too close. Too near.
I woke up wound tight like a mummy and with a headache like a bulldozer had plowed through. A lingering image of trying to squeeze through the crowd holding my breath so I wouldn’t inhale germs while hugging my sides so I wouldn’t touch anyone stayed with me.
While we are constantly aware of “too near” we crave more near.
It’s what we want. It’s what we miss.
In shades of black and white like my dream, we gauge one another and the space around each other. I find measuring six feet in my head a constant sobering practice.
It’s mere mathematics subtracts friendliness. And I’ve never liked math.
Standing in cart lines, with covered faces, social distancing as we are told, the ghost of loss blows its chilly breeze over and through. We meet eyes like masked bandits. Together apart, we are unidentified colleagues of unprecedented times. The line moves slowly toward the opening, judging spaces like subdued robots.
In that somber grocery line, I remember a shining glorious truth.
God does not social distance from us.
When Jesus sent out seventy-two to pave the way for His coming into their towns, Jesus instructed them to take the message, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” Luke 10:9 (NASB)
Throughout Biblical history God’s desire to dwell among his people, to be near them is evident.
“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.”
Psalm 145:18 (NASB)
Our sad un-nearness today is a tender reminder that in the social distancing reality between us, He hasn’t gone away.
He hasn’t social distanced from us.
Rather, He came near. Jesus bridged the distance through His sacrifice on the cross. Nothing can separate His children from Him. His arms are open wide. They invite nearness.
The near I yearn is the near He pours into me with abundance.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NASB)
With all the non-hugging happening, hold tight this thought: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” Hebrews 13:5 (NASB)
May you know today. He is near.
Amen and Amen Ms. Sylvia. Again, we find ourselves in the midst of a “Jesus thang” my friend. God has never distanced Himself from us, but I have to wonder how often we keep Him at a distance? Well said author! I hope you’ll get a chance to read my blog this week also; I think it’ll bring a smile. God’s blessings ma’am. Sure looking forward to this Thursday evening’s Bible study on Zoom.
I so appreciate your thoughts about distancing Him. Today I read in Jonah and was reminded of your excellent post. Yup. Jonah distanced himself from God. Thanks for bringing that reflection J.D. Again thanks for your comment.
Thanks Sylvia. As you know we were on the “same page” with blog thoughts and words this week..I love the contrast you make that God is “near” and contrary to the way we as His children are behaving in community.
Thanks Marilyn. It’s funny how many people are relating our physical situation now with the spiritual. So much fits and so much to learn. I appreciate you reading and commenting.
So true – and so grateful God is near.
It is a comfort these days to remember for sure. Hope you are well.
Thank goodness God does not socially distance from us! And even though we distance ourselves from Him on occasion, He is always there, waiting on us with open arms.
Thank you Candyce. You are so right, we do sometimes distance ourselves, but he is steadfast. Thank goodness.
The ache, the loss, I feel it with you. What a sweet reminder of God’s nearness. He sought us out and came near to us. He knows this ache to be near – thanks for reminding me that He is!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, Barb. I am glad you enjoyed it. So grateful He is near.
Oh this is so true! We crave the contact. And I find myself socially exhausted from trying to keep all the rules of engagement. It gets to the point I dread going grocery shopping due to the stress…of staying away, wearing my mask, unfogging my glasses, empty shelves, item limits, one way aisles…it is exhausting. What a comfort to know that God wants to be near.
Jeanne, I know what you mean about grocery shopping. It makes me sad. Seeing the effects on our world and people’s distancing is such a stark contrast to what once was is always a new sort of shock. I need to keep reminding myself that Jesus remains right beside me. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
The isolation from this whole quarantine experience can be devastating. But, just as you alluded to in your post, we can redefine “near.” God is near to us, and yet, we don’t physically touch Him. This post is a reminder to me to be “present” with people even though I have to remain separated.
K.A. I love that. To be “present” with people even though I have to remain separated. What a challenge. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!