He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Ephesians 2: 17,18 New International Version
How far away is faraway?
When Joni and I began dating she was a year ahead of me. I was a Sophomore and she was a Junior. So, for the first couple of years we saw each other every day during the school year. Summers were a very different story.
During the summers, the 3 hour drive from California’s central valley to the central coast seemed much too far, but we survived. Since we both had to work, phone calls occurred only occasionally due to long distance charges. Mail was the one option we used regularly, but rumors of the Postal Service threatening to stop Saturday services made me a very unhappy camper! Fortunately, that little disaster never happened.
How far away is far away?
Jump forward to the day our oldest daughter left for her first summer as a camp counselor at Wawona in Yosemite, after which she would move to the boarding school for her two remaining years of high school. I sat in her room, tears slipping down my cheeks, knowing she would never live at home again. Just a few years later and our youngest child was making the journey, with me giving a repeat performance. How far was too far away? Three hours drive up Highway 101!
As any of you with adult children already know and those of you with children who are moving toward adulthood will discover, it seems as if they keep going away! Perhaps it’s when they move to college, then meet someone who lives in what seems farther away than Outer Mongolia. Hey folks, see you later!
I’ve done my best to give a friendly warning to parents as they send their youngsters off to get an education. Don’t be surprised if they meet someone who lives in, let’s say, Europe!
How far away is far away?
It’s as far away as the one you love is from you. That may be a few hours up the highway, it may mean a flight across the Atlantic, or a flight from one coast to the other. I guess it depends on perspective as it does with nearly everything in our lives. Unfortunately, for some far away can be just a few feet across the room, a few feet that feel like being separated by the Himalayas—just as high and as cold.
I wonder if we ever think how far it was Jesus came for us. It wasn’t like driving a few hours up a state highway, flying from coast to coast, or jumping across the Pond (Atlantic Ocean) or even a twenty-four hour jaunt to the land down under!
The physical distance covered from the place where God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit dwell to Earth, no one knows. It’s not around the next corner! However, the distance in mind, heart, and spirit of Jesus as he met the needs of those He had created were galaxies distant—beyond calculation! I’m not sure how many ever consider Jesus didn’t have to come! Let’s face it, the Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit knew what was waiting for Jesus as they made their plans. As they looked through the centuries watching humanity destroy what they had created, how far away was far away from those moments of perfect Creation!
Imagine the experience our grandparents, Adam and Eve, went through as they discovered knowing right from wrong was a waste. It was a waste of all that was precious. As they were driven from their home, the intimacy they once had with each other, with God, even their passion for life was farther away than they could have ever imagined.
How far away is far away?
Not only did Jesus leave His Home in the Reality where He and His Father lived, He left that bond they only could have in perfection. Yet they forged another bond deeper than we may understand. Jesus’ need to depend on the Father for His life, for His existence, was a challenge in itself. That compared to the very real need Jesus had of depending on His Father to make it through each and every day. His Father and Home must have seemed impossibly far away with the challenges Jesus faced in ministering to a world in rebellion.
I can’t imagine facing as Jesus did the enemy whose driving goal was to destroy Him, those He loved, those He came to give everything He was in order to save. I wonder how far away that far away felt when every day Jesus faced the continuous evolution of the rebellion, as it destroyed everything He had created and pronounced Very Good! That moment in time must have seemed far away, so far away, but now in the fullness time Jesus had come to make right what had gone so terribly wrong.
And because of Jesus, Paul reminds us, we are no longer far away in any sense of the word. In my mind it is one of the most gracious gifts we receive and with it comes the bonus of peace. This gift of peace is a peace that this world desperately needs, and so do I! When I forget what has been accomplished by Jesus for me, when I allow the enemy to get into my head, when I get drawn into the lies of the enemy, there goes my peace, my assurance, and I feel very far away.
How far away is far away? God says far away doesn’t exist when He is involved, not as it concerns us, because He is always near.
There is a resounding theme echoing down the valleys and bouncing off the mountains of our lives. No matter what our feelings or fears may tell us, everything God has spoken, promised, is true. He promises to never leave us or forsake us, ever! I don’t know how it all works, but what I have come to know is this: God has never lied to me! God has never abandoned us! He has always given us food, a place to live, and friends who bring encouragement into our lives.
How far away is far away? When it comes to our relationship with God, there is no such thing as far away, because God’s throne room is in our hearts! Jesus promised that He, the Father, and the Counselor would make themselves at home in the hearts of those who invite them, filling us in every way possible.
God knows us better than anyone else ever will, every nook and cranny, every breath and cell that makes us who we are. He knows what it will take to make us all He plans for us to become.
How far away is far away? When it comes to our relationship with God, far doesn’t exist! And if we think it does we need to realize it’s in our minds, not in our reality! Remember, our feelings lie to us all the time. God calls us to remember how He has released us from the bondage of the enemy. God reminds us the enemy is defeated, therefore the only power the enemy has is when we engage in conversation with him. However, even if we find ourselves in this conversation, God is all about savings us! That’s Grace, God saving us from ourselves. He never leaves us; He remains Faithful always. From the Garden of Eden to the upper room where Jesus gave the most concise definition of the Gospel, and the times we live in now, God covers His sons and daughters with Himself for an Eternity!
This I do know to be true since my experience with God reveals His passion and intimacy for me as it is made known in the person of Jesus Christ! And for me it just doesn’t get any better than that!
“Look! I have been standing at the door, and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me. Revelation 3:20 The Living Bible
“If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you! I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.” John 14:16-20 The Message