Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Near Far

Good old Sesame Street.
Ah yes, the difficult concepts of near and far. Michaela and I have been working on those for a few months now. We stand by the mirror and jump back and forth saying near and far. She laughs and smiles and when we're done she says, "Mah," which means "more" in Michaelanese.

But some day she'll grow up and have those concepts nailed down. She'll know that things that are near are things she can touch and see and interact with. She'll learn that things that are far are often out of reach. They are the things she can't see, can't touch, can't change, can't do anything about. She'll learn just like we all do what near and far mean.

But Jesus must not have watched Sesame Street, because He doesn't seem to have learned this lesson.

Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. - John 4:46
So Jesus is back in Cana. There is a man from the next town over whose son is dying back home. He comes looking for Jesus and begs Him to heal his son. It must have been serious and he must have tried a lot of other things to get his son well. Usually the last thing people do is run around the country looking for holy men to heal their kids.

The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies." - John 4:49

He begs Jesus to come back to Capernaum to help him.  Near and far. This man understands the concept. I can picture what this father might have been thinking and saying as he begged the Lord.   Jesus, we are in Cana and my son is dying in Capernaum. That's far away, twenty miles to be exact. We can't do anything to help him from here. Please Jesus, come down to Capernaum with me. If we leave now, we might get there in time for you to save him.

"Go," Jesus replied, "your son will live." The man took Jesus at his word and departed. - John 4:50

What an under appreciated little verse. We're so used to Jesus healing people in the New Testament that it's easy for this to just seem like any other person He healed. But there's something special about what He does here. Jesus heals a boy that is 20 miles away with just a few words! Your son will live. The man later finds out that his son got better at the very moment that Jesus was speaking with him. It didn't take any time for Jesus' words to act with power even from so far away.

With Jesus, far is near. We may not be able to see or touch or interact with or change things that are far away. But Jesus can. Wherever you are, no matter how far you may feel from God, Jesus is near. He sees you and your need. You're not outside of His reach. He can change your life in an instant. You don't need to be in the right room, building, or even city to be touched by God.

What's also incredible about this story is that the royal official believes Jesus. He takes Jesus at His word. Oh how much more simple life would be if we did that! I think of the times God has seemed far and life has seemed so difficult and I read a verse that tells me God is with me and will work all things out for good. I think of all the times I've read those verses and not taken God at His word. So I stress and I fret and I worry and God ends up keeping His promise. Instead, I could have walked away with joy trusting God would do as He said.

Today, be reminded. You and I may struggle with near and far. But God isn't limited by a few miles. Even when He feels far away, remember that far is near to God. You can turn to Him anytime, any place. And remember to take Him at His word.  His Word is final and He is faithful to keep His promises.

Here's a little reminder that near and far are child's play to the Creator of the Universe.