Good Near God
Blog – 2-7-18
I love it when words jump off the page at you. As I was reading in the Psalms today, I read these words, “But as for me, it is good to be near God,” Psalm 73:28.
Asaph, the writer of this Psalm, starts off the Psalm basically complaining about how life doesn’t always seem fair. He was lamenting about the fact that people who enjoy prosperity in the world are sometimes wicked people. He bemoans the fact that their bodies are healthy and strong, and they have easy lives. He grumbles about how the wicked are carefree and always increase their wealth while the good guys finish last. Obviously I’m paraphrasing, but you get my point.
It sounds a little bit like our world today, doesn’t it. When we watch the news and social media, we see people who are living far from God, yet they seem to have the “perfect” life, lives we can only dream of. They jet away to exotic places, spend money like it’s going out of style, and seem to have everything they want.
But do they really?
We hear about their lavish lifestyles, but rarely, if ever, do we hear about their lives being peaceful and content. Actually, it’s usually the opposite, and their lives are typically a mess. It seems like contentment is always one more conquest away. That’s the nature of life in the fast lane.
It’s interesting to note that Asaph felt thousands of years ago the same way we can feel today, like somehow he was missing out. The people of his time may not have had access to the latest news like we do, but they still knew very clearly the difference between the “have’s” and the “have not’s.”
Asaph goes on to moan about how trying to do the right thing hasn’t always paid off either. He says, “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure.” Wait a minute. That doesn’t sound encouraging at all, does it.
Stay with me as we keep reading. In verse 16, Asaph writes, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.”
We can all relate to the fact of feeling oppressed when we get caught up in the comparison and envy game. Yet when Asaph got close to God, when he entered the sanctuary, he was able to see how shallow and fruitless those lives that seemed so full really were.
Then Asaph goes on to describe how God holds his hand, guides and counsels him, and is his source of strength. And then he wrote those simple words that touched the depths of my soul, “But as for me, it is good to be near God.”
Oh, what sweet truth! What beautiful wisdom we can cling to when we get caught up in the trappings of this world.
True joy comes in that simple, concrete statement of faith, it is good to be near God. Being near to God is the only place I have ever found any peace. It is the one and only place I have found joy that’s lasting and true, no matter what my life is like around me.
As I ponder this truth, I also realize that the times I have felt the closest to God have been in seasons of my biggest struggles. When I’m sitting in the middle of an easier patch in life, I don’t need God as much, and I tend to do life on my own. At some point a deep longing rises up in me again, and I realize how much I miss Him. Oh, I don’t miss the struggle, of course, but I do miss the nearness. I miss feeling the breath of God on my skin. I miss feeling like He’s a friend sitting right there beside me, going through the moment with me.
It is good to be near God.
It is peaceful to be near God.
Simple, profound truth found in the middle of a Psalm I’ve read many, many times and missed. Yet today my heart was ready to hear it, and the simple truth makes my soul smile.
It reminds me yet again that faith is much easier than my complicated brain likes to make it: Be near to God and know peace. Move away from God and live in turmoil.
Thank you, Asaph, for the gentle reminder. I hope this truth encourages you as well, my friend, it is good to be near God.
Hugs and love.