A couple of days ago I babysat Laura, who I’d barely seen since we returned from LA and MS a couple of weeks ago. Simon and Alycia had gotten sick, so I avoided them and they avoided everyone. When I came to pick up my 10-month old grandbaby, as soon as she saw me her face lit up into the brightest smile I could imagine. I could almost see all four teeth (which are still stubs). I’m certain she could see my teeth, as well, because I certainly lit up at the sight of her. Half an hour later, when she saw Smiles, her face lit wild with the same, brilliant smile! His eyes were moist.
That evening, I showed up at Claire and Forest’s house. When I first came in, Victoria looked a little worried as she tried to crane her neck to see who doesn’t stomp like her dad but was letting themselves into her house. When I came around the side of her high chair, and she could see my familiar face, she was instantly at ease and quickly began laughing with me and smiling bright. I nearly cried with joy then, too.
The next day, i was praying with a friend in California (thank God for technology), and it occurred to me that the reason my granddaughter’s faces lit up at the sight of me is because of familiarity. I am so grateful for most of my kids living close and inviting me to take part in the lives of their children. I am so grateful I get to see those two little ladies on a regular basis and have since they were born. I am so glad they know me. That I am someone who they feel safe with, and known and loved by.
It occurred to me, as I was talking and praying with my friend, that this is how it ought be with us and God. This is the very purpose of prayer and reading the Bible. The Bible is not intended just to give us information, or to teach us how to live. It is an invitation into the very heart and mind of the Almighty. To draw us near and to make Him familiar to us. Prayer is not a “To Do” list aimed at the one who can do all things. It’s a conversation in which we bear our heart, inviting God into the cracks and crevices of our soul. It is the place we find Him to be the greatest Source of comfort, and the sweetest Confidant. The dearest Friend!
Prayer and the Word are the places He becomes most familiar, so that when we sense His Presence, our faces light up with glee like two little girls seeing their Mee-maw, who they trust fully loves them tremendously. How much more does God love us? How much easier is the proximity between us? I needed to live close to my granddaughter’s for them to know me and to know my affection for them, but, to those who trust in Jesus, He has placed His Spirit inside of us. How much closer can you get? And He listens. The God who created the heavens and the earth inclines His ear and listens! How much kinder can you get? And He speaks! Yet we often let our Bibles collect dust for a million stupid reasons. Yet, how can we know and trust the Lord when we refuse to listen to His tender, gracious Voice? How proud that we would ignore the God who listens to us by refusing to listen to Him, when He is so much more worthy of our attention!
If there seem to be countless things preventing you from growing in intimacy with Christ, let’s remember what Jesus said to Martha when she was distracted by so many things and indignant at her sister’s attentiveness to Christ. “Only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part” (Luke 10:42). There is nothing in this world that’s better than knowing the Lord, and letting His affection wash over you, so that when you behold His face, all your teeth are showing!!!