Those of us who are married have learned the closer we are to our spouse, the stronger our love grows. When we listen, laugh, cry, reveal our most secret thoughts, hopes and concerns, this is an important part of learning to trust and know them.
Likewise, this is also how we grow in our personal bond and adoration with our Lord. We come to him with as much sincerity as a human can have as we lay our head on his chest and are surrounded in his perfect peace that passes all understanding. This is a secret hiding place where the chaos of the world, the fears, worries and sadness cannot find us.
He is our eternal refuge where we are not required to perform or live up to some type of expectation or wait in a long line for his attention. We humbly come into his presence without seeking his approval or needing to compete for his favor. We are never worried that God has forgotten us but simply trust in his promises and enjoy the contentment of being close to him. In Isaiah 49:16 God says, "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually [always in my memory] before me." He knows everything about you and is waiting for you to come and spend some time with him.
I remember a few years ago, I was at church one night, and after the service the worship band continued to play softly with no time limits and no hurry to leave. I closed my eyes and was feeling the freedom and joy of God's Spirit as I just soaked in this precious moment. It is so enjoyable to sense a tangible, divine connection with a God who loves me and who wants the best for me.
I was saying how much I appreciated his love, and while I was in somewhat of an intoxicated spiritual state, a wonderful lady came and handed me a small folded piece of paper and walked away. I opened it and read the words, "Billy, live only to please God — worship to the audience of one!"
My throat tightened, and I felt a tear fall down my cheek as I thought of how profound this message was to my life. In our Christian journey we have so much to think about with trying to do what we think is right and dealing with all the negative voices that try to discourage us.
Many times, I have thought about that simple note and how easy it is when working for the kingdom to lose our focus of the king. There is no higher purpose to serve, no greater reason to live, than to constantly seek God's face and listen to his voice. "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10). To draw near to the Lord with all of our heart is our deepest need. To maintain a passion to walk with him is our greatest challenge.
After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, a few forest rangers began to hike up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage. Just a few feet from the trail, one of them found a bird literally petrified in the ashes, perched like a statue on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he noticed something moving under her. When he removed her body, he discovered three tiny chicks. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. As the blaze arrived, the heat had scorched her small body, but she remained steadfast so those she loved could live.
If a tiny bird has this much love, imagine the infinite love of Jesus who willingly suffered and died to save all who would believe. Let's take a moment today and tell him how much we love and appreciate him. "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will trust. His truth will be your shield and buckler. You will not be afraid for the terror by night; neither from the arrow that flies by day" (Psalm 91:4-5).
William F. Holland Jr. is a minister and chaplain based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read more at billyhollandministries.com.