A Little Closer, Please

Yesterday, in an attempt to calm my mind and relax my body, I decided a nice, hot bubble bath was in order.  With a tub full of water and essential oils, a good book and a cup of hot tea, I pushed the door nearly closed and stepped into my temporary oasis. 

Before I had even settled in, I heard the sound of pattering feet.  Sure enough, within a moment, a little black head poked through the doorway.  Tippy, my precious 13-year-old beagle, stepped through the doorway, made her way over to the tub and stretched out on the floor beside the tub.  In just a few minutes, she was sound asleep and snoring like crazy.

Silly dog, I thought.  She's forsaken her comfortable spot on the couch to come lay on the cold bathroom floor.  Of all the places she could be sleeping right now, this has to be the most uncomfortable.  As I continued to ponder her decision, I realized something profound--something that Tippy has proven to be true countless times.  She's more concerned with her nearness to her master than with her own comfort.  Yes, she'd rather be near me and slightly uncomfortable than to be away from me in luxury.  She's willing to forsake her own comfort just to be near her master.  Am I willing to do the same?

I'm a planner.  I like plans, blueprints, schedules and worksheets.  I like to know what I'm doing, when I'm doing it and where I'm doing it.  I don't like change, and I absolutely abhor throwing things together at the last minute.  So, when God calls me to step out of my comfort zone of schedules and blueprints, do I jump at the opportunity, knowing that my obedience will draw me closer to Him?  Or do I make excuses why I can't perform that certain task?  In my mind, which is more important:  my own comfort or closeness to God?

In word, I'd tell you, without hesitation, that I'm more interested in being close to God, but I'm afraid my actions don't always echo that truth.  And let's face it, actions do speak louder than words.  The strange thing is that I really want it to be true.  I want to be like Abraham who left his homeland and headed out into the unknown simply because God commanded it.  I want to be like little David who stood before the mighty giant with nothing more than a sling and the power of God, which the shepherd boy knew, without a doubt, would be enough.  I want to be like Peter who stepped out of the safety of the boat and onto the crashing waves because Jesus said, "Come."

I think all of us would admit that we want to feel closer to God.  We sing the song, "Nearer, my God, to Thee."  We pray the prayer, "God, please come closer."  But may I remind you that the first move is ours?  James 4:8 says, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."  Notice the order.  You move closer to God, then He'll move closer to you.  

So, how do we do it?  How do we draw closer to the Master?  The same way Tippy did.  We give up our personal comfort.  We walk away from our own desires, goals and expectations.  We submit and surrender our lives to God.  We spend time with Him through prayer and meditation.  We deny ourselves and follow Him.  I'm not saying it's easy.  Trust me, it's not.  But what I can tell you is that, just like Tippy, when we step out of our comfort zones and draw nigh to the Master, we'll find sweet rest.

Tippy seems to think it's worth the sacrifice.  How about you?