Posted by: Jo | May 4, 2012

Dare to Draw Near

image“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you….” (James 4:8 ESV)

I was trained to be a school teacher and I loved my profession and I especially enjoyed the young children in grades Kindergarten to Grade 2. Their enthusiasm and excitement about everything new was very infectious and no day was the same as the next, so being bored with my work never occurred. I was thinking back with nostalgia on those sweet days when I remembered one little boy in particular. He was very much a free spirit and found any sort of structure to the day to be very hard and he had difficulty in conforming to a classroom setting. The afternoon story time was a very difficult time for him. Whereas the others were all seated on a mat in front of me ready to listen, he was still engrossed in some puzzle or game. Not wanting to disrupt the rest of the class because of him I thought of a way to gain his attention. I began to whisper the story to those on the mat and only those close to me could hear the words. If my little friend was to hear the story he would have to draw close to where I was or he would miss out altogether. The ruse worked! I saw him out of the corner of my eye, edge closer and closer until he was seated on the mat like the rest of the children. He and I developed a very close relationship as the school year progressed and imageI was thinking of him in re-reading the verse in James 4:8 where James urges his readers to “draw near to God” and felt our Heavenly Father also wanted our full attention and wanted us close to him so we did not miss one word he was saying.

Drawing near to someone means an actual step in their direction. We have to come into their space and that is sometimes daunting as it requires sharing an intimacy with another. We sometimes use the expression “I was drawn to her”; meaning one took pleasure in being with that person and was happy to be in their company. It is also used as an expression of deep love “he drew him close to his chest” and when I read those words I see the Father in the story of the Prodigal son (Luke 15) embracing his lost son. So when we read James’ words we see a combination of all those meanings. If we draw near to God we are opening up ourselves to the most intimate relationship known to mankind and it will require us to be willing for God to also draw near to us. Just like the little boy in my classroom, it will mean not being distracted by activities that will block out what the Lord is whispering to us. It will mean having open communication with him; trusting him with our most inner thoughts; sharing our joys, our sorrows, our fears.

I came across this very thoughtful hymn that is a beautiful response to when we feel that tugging at our heart and realise it is the Lord longing for us to draw near, so he can encircle us with his love. It begins with this chorus;

Draw, me, dear Lord,

Draw me today.

From everything else, dear Lord

Draw me away.

1. O, Lord the whole world

Seems to weigh me down

All the cares, the strife the sin

Within and all around.

2. But, Lord, I want to set my heart,

And, Lord I want to stay with you

‘Cause only when You’re with me

Is everything okay.

3. And though everything may fall apart

Or everything go my way,

It doesn’t really matter, Lord

As long as I gain you today.

When we take that big step and dare to draw near to our Lord, we will hear him whisper;

“..I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV)


  1. Lovely Jo. Isn’t there another hymn a little similar– “Near my God to thee”? Thanks old friend.


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