The Nearness of God

With clothes dripping, shoes soggy, and wet hair plastered to my face, I moved forward. I had mud spattered all over my legs and the storm was rolling in with a furry. Still far from my apartment, I did what anyone in my situation would do: smile.

You see, although I had slipped in a deep puddle, tracked through a muddy ravine, and gotten thoroughly drenched by the summer rain, I was wonderstruck. My nine-week old lab mix, Juliette, and I were having a glorious time exploring the great outdoors. And if you’ve ever owned a lab, you know that they’re happiest in water. So when we saw those pools of standing water, we not only went through them—we ran with the determination to make the biggest splash possible. We took a flying leap, and watched the water spray like a hotel fountain. We walked barefoot in the St. Augustine grass, cool and slippery, and later jogged through the rain, delighting in the sensation of thousands of water drops bursting on fur and skin like fireworks.

If you’d seen me that day, or the day I went bungee jumping on a trampoline and bounced forty feet high, or the day I climbed down a rocky cliff to a raging mountain stream swollen with snow melt, you would think I was an adventurer. A daring person. Someone who enjoyed doing out of the ordinary activities and who lived a life characterized by the freedom and joy that comes from knowing God. In short, you’d think I was wonderstuck and fully awake to the nearness of God.

But I don’t live wonderstruck every day, or even every month. It took two flights, a long drive, and a five hour hike to encounter the power and might of God in a swollen stream. It took $10 and a chorus of “you-can-do-it”s from my family to get me to even consider putting on the harness. And it wasn’t until I was bouncing high in the mountain air and squealing with delight that I realized the gift of unhindered joy.

And Juliette? Well several hundreds of dollars later, with stained carpet and dog toys strewn everywhere, I’m acutely aware of the provision and sovereign love of God. Jason and I only adopted a surplus puppy from a local shelter. God sent his son to die in our place so that you and I could be adopted as his daughters. And not just his beloved children, but heirs to the kingdom who are robed in the righteousness of Christ.

The beauty of God is that he doesn’t require a Colorado vacation, a clutch stuffed full of cash, or the adoption of a dog to reveal himself to you. He is near and always has been. Today I’m choosing to open my eyes, and to be intentional about observing the nearness of God. I dare you to open your eyes too. You just might find yourself caught in a thunderstorm with a wet grin on your face.

Tiffany is the Women's Ministry Coordinator at Irving Bible Church, and a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. A proud, native Texan, she and her husband, Jason, live in Grapevine, Texas. She is passionate about advancing the God-given value of women and helping women to embrace their unique identity in Christ. She serves as a board member for the Association for Women in Ministry Professionals (AWMP) and served for the past 3 years on the leadership team for Polish Ministries, a ministry dedicated to helping young professional women connect their faith with their career.