The Closeness of God

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”— Philippians 2:5-8

Sometimes humanity can be a little too close for comfort.

In the suburban bubble where I live, we take a car most places we want to go. That is why I felt like a “fish out of water” as I flew into Chicago last week with my son. We left the airport gate, rode down an escalator to the underground, and had to find a ticket vending machine. The machine ate my money and spit out our tickets, and shivering in my jacket, I went to find my way to the train. As I stumbled through the metal turnstile after swiping my ticket, I flowed with the sea of humanity down some dingy stairs to the platform below. We stood in a concrete tunnel and waited for the train, peering into the black hole of the tunnel looking for the headlight. Finally the train blasted into the station (there is a reason you have to stand back behind the blue line on the concrete floor!) and eventually came to a stop and we pushed our way on.

As the train left the airport and headed out towards the city, I marveled at how it seemed to float on its rails. As we rushed along the median in the middle of the freeway, cars passed us, the train cars jiggled back and forth, and I got used to the herky-jerky motion. I watched a homeless man in the train snuggle further under his black coat to sleep away the morning.

My day passed and late afternoon I was back on a train, crushed with standing-room-only travelers in the Friday night rush. As I hung onto a seat back to keep from falling over, with the closest person just inches away from me, hemmed in on all sides, I thought to myself—“I am not used to this”. Humanity was just too close for my comfort.

Thankfully, for Jesus, (and us) humanity was not too close for His comfort. He was fully divine, yet fully human, in the form of a man. He came down from heaven, leaving the comforts of heaven, and called the earth “home” for the thirty-some years of His life. He took on a human body with all its frailties, and chose to live among the human race. He got close to people, loved them in all their sin, and allowed them to be close to Him as well. He gave Himself up to humans and allowed Himself to be killed on a cross. All for us.

Through Christ, God is truly able to be comfortable with humans, in ways that we can’t be with one another (or ourselves at times). God wants to be close to us, He wants to be our friend, our Redeemer, our Lord. Despite our sin and shame, He still seeks us out, inviting us into His loving arms. Will we respond?

How might we be open to His presence today?

Prayer–“Lord Jesus, you took on human form to live among us. I am humbled as I consider you want to be with me, a sinful person. Thank you for your presence and your deep love for me. In your Name. Amen.”

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