The Habit of Nearness

By Published on February 25, 2024

We can more easily develop a calming, continuing dependence on God by regularly remembering how near He is. How present He is.

During my college days, a few buddies and I were hiking somewhere in a beautiful gorge when we detoured over a ravine by walking across a fallen tree. I was halfway across the thing when I froze up and got tottery. The ground seemed as if it were a mile below me. I recall flailing my arms like a windmill and shouting, “I’ve lost my nerve!” The friend in front of me instantly reached out and took hold of my hand. I could have pulled us both off the log, but somehow the momentary touch of my friend’s hand gave stability. I regained my balance and made it safely to the other side.

I’ve thought of that many times when I’ve gotten weak-kneed over other chasms, and it’s the touch of a Friend’s hand that has steadied me. The same is true for the heroes of Scripture. When Peter sank in alarm trying to walk across the choppy waters of Galilee, Jesus immediately reached out His hand and caught him, saying, “You of little faith… why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).

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Many of the Psalms speak of the nearness of God’s hand:

“I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8).

“Your right hand sustains me” (Psalm 18:35).

“I cling to you; your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:8).

“Your hand is strong” (Psalm 89:13).

“You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).

One of my favorite promises in Scripture — I found and memorized this verse in childhood — says: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

When you spot a couple walking down the street hand-in-hand, you know they’re in love. The same is true for us in our love for Jesus. We enjoy the Lord’s fellowship when holding His unchanging hand, and as we cultivate a sense of His nearness, we grow increasingly intimate with Him. We’re strengthened and steadied by His presence.

 

Robert Morgan recently appeared on LIFE TODAY. Excerpted from Calm Your Anxiety by Robert J. Morgan. Copyright ©2023 Robert J. Morgan. Published by W Publishing, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

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