James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” Interestingly, this verse has a way of popping up in my life every once in a while. When I think back to my first encounter with this promise, I am still amazed….
Though I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior at a young age, it wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I really started to grow in my faith. My first semester of college I was taking a required course called Introduction to Biblical Studies, and much of my homework for that class was simply reading assigned portions of Scripture. I had never really read through the Bible before, and as I did so for that class, I was amazed by what a wealth of knowledge and wisdom God’s Word contains. At the end of that semester I began my own plan to read through the entire Bible in one year. The more of God’s Word that I read, the greater my desire to know Him grew. So many times I prayed, asking God to reveal more of Himself to me and confessing that I wanted to know Him more. In effect, I was asking Him to draw near to me. Yet for some reason I felt like I wasn’t getting that. I wasn’t getting more of God like I desired. Then one day while praying, God spoke to me so plainly: “If you want more of Me, you have to give Me more of you.” Wow! The answer to my prayers had finally come! Such a huge revelation, yet such a simple concept. It wasn’t until many months later that I first came across James 4:8 in my reading. And when I did, I was again amazed by God’s words to me; for He had spoken to me from His very Word.
So how do we draw near to God that He might draw near to us? By living in obedience to His commands. “…And His commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
My husband and I have started reading Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, a book about God’s command for husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands. God has used this book to begin opening my eyes to the small ways that husbands and wives can live in obedience to this command for marriage. I had the opportunity to witness an awesome example of love and respect acted out in my sister’s marriage while visiting her and her husband earlier this week. Alex, my sister’s husband, came home around 9:00 pm after a 14-hour work day preceded by about 4 hours of sleep. Despite his exhaustion, he greeted his wife and 2 children joyfully and showed enthusiastic interest in their day. Rosanna, my sister, never complaining about his late night, served the delicious meal she had been holding for several hours. As Alex tasted her work, he complimented her, saying that his wife is such a good cook and that she makes him happy. After supper Alex noticed some clean laundry that my sister’s busy day hadn’t allowed her to get to, so he proceeded to fold it without being asked. Rosanna continued to clean up in the kitchen, keeping her family’s home a nice and comfortable place to be while Alex began to get the children ready for bed. With all the work finally done for the night, Rosanna sat down to relax and Alex got ready to turn in for the night. As he was heading to bed, Alex kindly asked Rosanna to prepare me and my kids a nice breakfast the next morning, and she smiled and said respectfully, “Sure!” As I observed all this I was so blessed to see the teamwork in their marriage that came from Alex simply loving his wife and Rosanna simply respecting her husband. Their love and respect for each other as displayed in my presence was an awesome witness to what a godly marriage is supposed to be.
I was thinking the other day what an amazing thing parenthood is. God opens the womb, forms the unborn child in the innermost parts, brings him forth by His amazing design for childbirth, and entrusts us with his life. A helpless babe in the hands of finite man with finite knowledge and finite resources. But God–the infinite God with infinite wisdom and infinite resources–our Creator, has designed parenthood; and to Him we look for help as our children look to us. What a high calling to be a parent, responsible for the life of the one given you by God. And what a blessing! Like the Psalm says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is His reward.” Thank you, God, for entrusting me with such precious children. May You always give me wisdom for each moment as I raise them according to Your commands and for Your glory.
It takes a lot of work to raise a family. Being a mom has taught me a lot about how selfish we are in America. Our society views children as an inconvenience and as limiting our freedom to do as we please. Children are never talked about publicly as being a blessing to anyone. Having two children has been the best thing that my husband and I could ever hope for. We love them so much. I would be lying if I said it was easy, but parenting is one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced in my life. God has used children to refine us and purge us of our selfish desires, and in doing so, to make us more godly. Praise God for my family!