Monday, February 24, 2014
Today’s Topic: He’s Within Reach
Today’s Text: Isaiah 59:1-2 (ESV) Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Last March during severe blizzards in Japan, a father froze to death while sheltering his daughter. Mikio Okada died as he tried to protect his only child, Natsune, against winds of up to 68 miles per hour and temperatures that plunged as low as 21 degrees, making for windchills of 10 below zero.
Mr. Okada called his relatives to say that he was stranded and that he and Natsune would try to walk to their destination. But they were both found just 300 yards from the truck. Mr. Okada was reportedly found hunched over his daughter, cradling her in his arms and apparently using his body and a warehouse wall to provide shelter. He had taken off his jacket to give to the child. The young girl was taken to a hospital near their home where she was found to have no serious injuries.
That story illustrates several principles, not the least of which is that true love is sacrificial. The apostle John wrote, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
But the principle that sticks out to me this morning is this – God is able to save us if we will stay within His reach. No matter what our situation or circumstances, God has not moved away to become simply an observer from a distant vantage point. If there is an apparent distance between us and God it is because we have moved, not Him. His arm has not been shortened. His ears have not become dull so that He cannot hear our cries for help.
The problem is not with God, who never changes, but with us because we change all the time. We change our minds about whether or not we can trust God and His Word. We change our minds about whether we will obey Him or follow our own personal plan of performance. We make choices every day to love Him and then turn around and love ourselves more. But what we may not consider as we think about those choices is that every choice we make to leave God out of individual moments in our lives makes us responsible for the outcome of those choices.
God made a choice to love us and reach out to us in His Son Jesus Christ. His choice will never change. God also made a choice that those who reject Jesus will suffer severe consequences, not only in this life but in eternity. That choice will also never change. Our choices either bring us into the arms of Jesus for protection against all the storms of life, or they move us away from God’s protection and make us vulnerable to the storms of life.
God has put Himself between you and the storm of sin. He has offered to save you from the storm, not so much by wrapping you up but rather by filling you up with the eternal warmth of His love. His Holy Spirit, dwelling in all who have repented of their sin and have run into His arms for forgiveness, provides a constant fire of holiness within us. Never again do our hearts need to grow cold. Never again do we need to fear being out of reach of the arms of God. He is in us, and His love never changes.
If you feel distant from God today, it is not because He has moved – you have. Run to Him, and discover that the fire of salvation is still blazing, and it will never be extinguished.