He Draws Near
by Marcy Lytle

We recently said goodbye to some awesome friends as they moved far away from us, and it was hard!  They needed to move on, and we were so sad to lose our connection, our fun together, and our conversation as we had grown so close since the time they lived near us.  We knew when they moved here that they wouldn’t be staying long, but after over a year with this dear couple…the time came…and they were gone.

Of course, we can stay in touch through Facebook (so thankful for that!) and phone calls and all sorts of technology.  But it just won’t be the same.  It’s a grieving process for sure, when loved ones move on to a new life, a new job, another city and another place.  I cannot imagine the times in the pioneer days when children said goodbye to their parents as they married and moved west…perhaps to never see each other again!

I really struggle when friends exit out of my life.  I suppose many of us do, but I get familiar with friends and open up and share, and trust and give, only to have that routine upset and be forced to make new friends and become familiar with new faces.  I don’t like it and never have.

I remember when I was 13 and my sister married, and moved away to California the very next day.  I was so mad at her that I threw away every memento from her wedding.  I wanted no reminders of the day she left me, and I cried and cried.  I saw my parents cry, too.  And that broke my heart.  

Photo Courtesy of Doug Gephardt

Families break up, and a dad or mom leaves, with kids that cry themselves to sleep for years.  We lose loved ones to death and we grieve until we hurt, deep inside, with a pain that cannot be cured.

Or can it?

There’s this verse that says He draws near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). 

Isn’t that refreshing?  As others move on, He draws near!  And the truth is that we usually want the ones that have left to come back into our lives, instead of drawing near to Him.  We’d much rather have the comfort of that friend, the closeness of that parent, and or the nearness of that family member back!  Losing someone is hard!

He knew there would be loss in this world and that people and family and friends would move on.  He knew there would be much sorrow associated with saying goodbyes and much angst with saying new hellos.  So he made us that promise above that he would draw near and save us.

Draw near us to do what and to save us from what?

He draws near to remind us that he is EVERYTHING.  He saves us so that he can HEAL us. 

He knew what it was like to lose friends, close friends.  He suffered betrayal, he was misunderstood, and close followers denied him – said they didn’t even know him!  He had friends die, he went through so much more than we will ever experience here on earth.

So when he says he will draw near, he does so with power to breathe new life when our old life seems stale and empty.  When he says he will save us when our spirits are crushed, he can really do that. Sometimes it’s the last thing we want to do – reach out to take hold of Hand that is offered – but he never withdraws it. 

I’m reaching for his hand every time I lose a friend, say a goodbye, or feel disappointed and crushed.  Sometimes I hold it loosely, just brush it, or just look at it.  But when I sit still long enough for him to take my hand and squeeze it and hold it and start walking with me, I’m comforted and safe and warm once again.

Oh, it’s a daily walk, and a minute by minute deal.  Sometimes, I run off just like a toddler does when he shakes his dad’s hand loose to make an independent run.  But there’s that strong hand again, when I get up from with a skinned knee and bruised heart and reach out to grab it.

He draws near, when others move on…

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