28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
Where does one begin to talk about Who God is? He is immense beyond compare to anything else. We have no earthly frame of reference to describe His greatness, no holy example of reverence to compare His righteousness. The Lord is great beyond mere words.
What amazes me – as if there is only one aspect of God that amazes me – is the fact that He is approachable. Not only is it possible to have a relationship with the Lord, it is expected.
So many times, we feel inadequate to the task, unworthy of God’s time or energy. And, honestly, we are unworthy. Undeserving.
Thankfully, God does not give us what we deserve. He loves us. He cares for us. He has a plan for each of us.
We were created as relational beings, made to have relationships with one another and with God. Can you imagine how it must have felt for Adam and Eve in the garden? They walked with God. Or, rather, God walked with them.
They were safe.
They were content.
They had an intimate relationship with the Creator.
They were free from worry and doubt and death.
That is until…
All they had to do was keep their gaze fixed on God and not give in to temptation. It is somewhat like Peter stepping out of the boat to walk on the water to get to Jesus. Now, I realize this analogy is a bit of a stretch, but stick with me.
Peter was fine as long as he kept His eyes on Christ. He was doing the impossible. He was walking on water. And not just any water. There was a storm raging on that lake! Swells, waves, rain, wind, thunder, lightning…
Despite the threat of death, Peter was fine.
Adam and Eve weren’t facing a storm. Theirs was a perfect existence. There was no threat of death. Indeed there was no death.
What Adam, Eve and Peter all reveal is humanity’s Achilles heel. Our greatest weakness. Our biggest pitfall.
We stink at obedience. We fail to recognize God.
Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent with “Surely you will not die.” Peter was tempted as well, with “Surely you will die.” And, when tripped by temptation, what happened in both cases?
God came in and saved.
By rights, the Lord could have just wiped mankind out when Adam and Eve gave in to the serpent and introduced sin to the world. Imagine how they must have felt… locked out of the garden, life shortened and filled with toil and pain and all the horrific details that sin introduces. They knew perfection.
They had perfection.
And, in their all-too-human arrogance, they blew it.
Still, God loved them. He did not utterly abandon them. Nor did He leave Peter to drown in the stormy sea. Jesus – our Savior – plucked the disciple from the water and brought him safely to the boat.
Perhaps the worst thing Adam and Eve lost was intimacy with God. Sin put a wedge between us and Him. But, with Jesus – God Incarnate – we have the intimacy of true relationship restored.
Understand there is a difference. Unlike the perfection of Eden, we are surrounded by a sinful world. Approaching God, building a relationship with Him, requires effort on our part, and faith. But we are promised: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you“ (James 4:7-8a, ESV).
Jesus walked on this earth not as some mere wise man or yogi or what have you. He was fully man and fully God. And He built relationships with people. Intimate, close bonds.
And He still does.
The bond we have with God through Jesus Christ is the surest bond there is. We cannot sin so big that He cannot forgive us. We cannot slip so far or so fast that we slip out of His eternal grasp. Like the Prodigal Son, we may run away from our Father. But, even if we reek of pig sty and ick, we can always be assured that, leaving all the sinful past behind us, we can run back to our Father and know He loves us, know He will not reject us, know we are welcome back into His arms.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)
God is amazingly, completely approachable – available at any time, day or night. Even on weekends. Go to Him in prayer. So vital is prayer that Paul instructs us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In other words, keep the line of communication with the Lord open at all times.
When we mess up, we run to Him. When we have a need, we run to Him. He is our sure shield and protection.
But, God is so much more than that. He is our loving, heavenly Father Who has made a way for us to have an intimate relationship. Seek Him first and foremost, with thanksgiving for all He is. Make a habit of spending time with the Lord in His Word and prayer. Come to the Lord, for He is good. Lay down your heavy burden and find rest for your weary soul in Him.