“We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds.”
My eyes are struggling to make sense of my surroundings. I feel like I can’t tell where my feet are.
I reach for my phone.
“You don’t need your flashlight,” he says. “Just follow my voice. Your eyes will adjust.”
I’m not convinced.
I take a few tentative steps.
“But I can’t see a thing!”
“It’s not as dark as you think it is. Just come towards me. Your eyes will adjust.”
The repetition doesn’t help. I feel discombobulated. Uncomfortable.
“Do you see the hose and hydrant?”
“No,” I retort, grumpy. But I do. I actually do. I speed up, gain confidence.
Within moments, I can see perfectly well.
Funny, how I could think it was so dark. There was plenty of light.
Leaves crunch underfoot. More rattle their welcome from their fragile grip on the trees. The last of the sunset glows indistinctly on a watercolour horizon.
He is near – near enough to touch. I reach for his hand. I’m grateful for his presence, his steady encouragement, his calm talking me through all my uncertainty in life.
He knows me well.
Our walk is a solace, a milkshake for my soul. I feed.
And I think, how like my faith journey this is.
Discomfort. Unwelcome, dark, unknown territory. Tentative steps and fear.
A reassuring Presence.
Denial. Anxiety. Adjustment.
And a milkshake for the soul.
One line of this verse stands out to me as I write this: “We give thanks because you are near.”
Like hubby on an evening October walk.
Reassuring. Strong. Guiding, challenging, providing feedback and key navigation information.
In a world in which we are ever more isolated by the groups we identify with, our political association, our vaccination status, our need to look good and perform well and somehow stop the bleeding of a thirsty soul, what we need is near. A God who will not shrink at the messiness of a messy life, who will choose to engage and pull us deeper and walk right into the dark night with us.
Ah, friend. This is a perfectly personal and practical piece of God’s character that makes my heart thankful.
Breathe out thanks for this nearness with me?
Father, how beautiful it is that You are near. Bless us with a constant appreciation for and awareness of this nearness. We thank You for it! Amen.