The above plea can elicit two very opposite reactions. For some, the presence of God is a means of comfort and protections. To others, the very thought of God may create a sense of fear and anxiety. My hope is that all followers of God live in such a way that generates the desire for God’s presence due to the sacrifice of Jesus. Along with our prayer, “Lord, stay near,” I want us to consider what is lost when God is pushed away.
The loss of God creates a loss of truth. Notice the plea in Psalm 25.4-5. “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.” Biblically, truth is always tied to God. While Jesus is the full expression of God’s truth (John 1.14-17), truth is also linked to worship (John 4.23-24), freedom (John 8.32), life (John 14.6), and God’s word (John 17.17). The text in Jeremiah 7.23-29 is very enlightening. As the people pushed God away, truth perished from the land. Not that truth ceased existentially, but rather it no longer affected the people. Is it possible that we see this around us today?
The loss of God creates a loss of hope. No doubt you have heard the proverbial quote, “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” Mankind needs hope. We have seen the results of despair. Our God is a God of hope (Romans 15.13). He has given us the scriptures which provide access to this hope (Romans 15.4). Unfortunately, man has a tendency to fill this longing hope with everything but God.
The loss of God creates a loss of fear. While that may seem good initially, the hard reality is that we need fear. We need accountability. History has demonstrated the depths of humanity without any fear of judgment or accountability. Be honest. Would you really desire to live around people who were accountable only to themselves? Romans 3.10-18 provides an excellent description of what can happen when the fear of God is lost. Pushing aside God may seem to release my restrictions…but I need restrictions.
I do not want to live without truth, hope, or fear.
Lord, stay near.