In our Friday night kid's ministry, we have been going through the book of Philippians and studying JOY! I have so enjoyed talking through this book with the older elementary kids every week. Last week, we talked about Philippians 4:4-7 and there is so much to learn from it (you should ask your kids and hopefully they'll remember ;)) -- But I want to talk specifically about the little phrase at the end of verse 5: "The Lord is near."
How strange it is to think of God in the time frame of near or far. When I first read the word near- I think spatially, physical closeness. Have you ever heard people say that you're the apple of God's eye? That's a phrase quoted from Psalm 17:8 and while I have heard it said, I have never really understood what it meant. If you had really pressed me, I would've thought maybe it meant something like "you're the sparkle of God's eye" -- like a term of endearment. But I learned this week that the Hebrew word for apple is actually translated as "little man." That's not at all how I interpreted that verse, so how did the original translators go from little man to apple?!
I think the phrase "You are the little man of his eye" is probably a little more confusing than the former. But the beauty of it is SO much better. Have you ever gotten so close to someone that you can literally see your reflection in their eye? That's what the author was intending with this phrase. God has literally gotten so close to us that He can see Himself in our eyes and vice versa. We are the apple of His eye. We are the embodiment of being so close that we are seen in the other's eye. God is that near.
But then there is the side of near that is more time oriented. As in, the near future. What once was a thing of anticipation is now in the very near future. The Lord our God is NEAR.
Near as in- He will never leave me, He is with me, He is so close to me.
Near as in- He could return at any moment, the anticipation of the fact that He’s on His way.
So I may be stressin’ about my near future and how I will get done all that I need to get done, or what will happen, or when will that thing that I've been praying for finally happen...
& then I’m reminded that He’s already there. He’s here with me now. But He also goes before me & He’s in that future, too. He’s that near. Close. Within reach. But also, He’s near. He’s coming back...soon.
I can tend to focus way too much on my life, my future, my story. And God is usually so gentle to remind me that it is not about me. I’m not saying that it’s bad to have a plan or think through the future... but I also don’t want to be so caught up in the future that I miss the present. The Lord is near, so why would I spend my present moments worrying about the future? The Lord is near, so why would I feel fearful and alone?
If Jesus returned tomorrow, have I been faithful to all He entrusted me with today? He is near!!
I trust Him with my past and I trust Him with my future, but do I actively trust Him with my present? He is near!!
Hi there! My name is Alicia and I am the Children's ministry intern. I'm currently studying biblical counseling at Dallas Theological Seminary and I am so passionate about helping to bridge the gap between theology and psychology! I love writing and tend to think in pictures and I'm praying that this can be a space where you can find grace and experience Jesus and feel less alone. Much love!! Xoxo, Alicia