When God is Most Near

If I oppose the Word I oppose my Lord when he is most near;
If I receive the Word I receive my Lord wherein he is nigh.
This is a line from “Christ the Word," a prayer found in the Valley of Vision. The collection of Puritan prayers found in this book is so enriching to my personal prayer life.  Sometimes a line causes me to stop and meditate on its meaning a little longer. Do you ever wish you could be nearer to God? Some leaders tell us that we can do this by being one with nature, or taking a walk in the wilderness to sense God’s presence. Others say it is through particular community services. Some believe that the answer is in a more concentrated effort to remove ourselves from worldly influences. Many advocate more of an emotional response in worship, suggesting we are more connected to God in a rapturous moment. We have books telling us that it’s all about thankfulness, mystical experiences, simplifying our lives, or listening for a special message from the Spirit. But this prayer says something different. Something so clear, and yet often not what we want to hear. It says that Christ is most near to us in his Word. Our Lord’s nearness is not based on a subjective experience, or how well we show gratitude and service. And it isn’t about making a space for God, as if he can then come reside in the neat area we have allotted for him. No, God’s Word saturates every bit of us. It doesn’t soak in better for those on an organic diet. We don’t need to detox all the chemicals out of our bodies for it to stick. I can oppose Oreo cookies, or I can oppose black bean brownies. But if I oppose the Word, I oppose the Lord when he is most near. This leads me to ask, since God cared to communicate with us in his Word, and we see in it that Christ is the Word, do you think that we are separated from him not only in the Word that we oppose, but also in the Scriptures we haven’t even bothered to read, study, and receive?   John 1:1, Rev. 19:13, Heb. 4:12-13