It was one of those “you had to be there” moments, but I’ll try to explain it to you anyway. I never learn.
Wednesday night, our new Small Group met for the second time. We had a great time of fellowship and discussion, opened God’s word together, and reflected on the purpose of our gathering. (You should come sometime–to our group, or to another one of our groups. You’re really missing out if you’re not a part of a group. But, I digress…)
Anyway, we were discussing the admonition in Hebrews to “draw near to God, with a sincere heart and a full assurance of faith,” (10:22), and what that means for those of us who live in relationship with Jesus Christ. Some shared victories, others their struggles, and somehow the subject came up of the creative way in which Susanna Wesley (18th-century mother of John and Charles) used to get “draw near” to the Lord, even in the midst of her 19 children.
From there, let’s just say the conversation got a little crazy. To protect the innocent–if there were any innocent among us–I think it’s best we just go with “what happens in our small group, stays in our small group!”
But then, we got a first-hand picture of the blessed joy and privilege of “near-drawing,” as the term was coined. We had a surprise guest–Rosie, the Herreras’ sweet family dog–and she decided to visit a few people up close and personal. She jumped straight into one person’s lap, and snuggled up close into his face. I’m not sure how good the breath was (from either of them), but we did get to see our topic illustrated in the simplest of ways.
It wasn’t anything religious or spiritual. It was, instead, unbridled and uninhibited excitement, from a dog who was so happy to be with us and couldn’t begin to express her joy at the prospect of “fellowship” with us humans. And, she didn’t want to miss the opportunity to draw as near as she possibly could.
I have to wonder, how often do I see the privilege of coming into the presence of the King of kings, who loves me abundantly and made a way personally for me to fellowship with him, as something to get that excited about? Or do I see drawing near to the Lord as my religious duty or discipline, what “good Christians” do?
My prayer for each of us is that we would come to understand what it really means to “seek His face,” in our closet place and in our time of corporate worship together, and that we would never be afraid to express our joy and love for Him with that same kind of reckless abandon that Rosie showed us on Wednesday night.
“Draw near to God,” James tells us, “and He will draw near to you.” I am praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.