May God lift your spirit this day through the music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a male choral group from South Africa that sings in the styles of isicathamiya and mbube.
As you listen to their medley of Amazing Grace and Nearer My God to Thee, bring those two teachings together. Meditate on these questions:
- “I once was lost but now am found.” A reference to the lost and found parables of Jesus in Luke 15, particularly the prodigal son (v. 32). To be found, there is a finder, and there is coming near to that finder with a sense of “I’m home. It’s good to be here.” Like someone rescuing a dog or adopting an orphaned child. Meditate on this verse: “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds” (Psalm 73:28). What life circumstances are trying to pull you in right now, that will control you less if you make the Lord your refuge?
- God is everywhere. So everything is near him in a geographical or local sense. Like you are near oxygen. Being found by grace is different. It is spiritual and relational. God reaches out in his love. You are attracted to his love by faith. We know God’s love best by his actions and his promises. In writing. In the Bible. Sometimes, even good things get in the way of God’s love seeking to draw us nearer to him by faith. So, by God’s grace, we bear crosses. “Nearer, my God, to thee .. E’en though it be a cross That raiseth me.” These painful experiences feel like burdens we carry. Even like barriers, pushing us away from God. No. God used a cross to save the world, and to draw his Son closer to himself. He uses your crosses, just as much, to bring your nearer. What promise of God do you need to believe today, so that your cross brings you nearer to God?
PRAYER: Good morning, God of grace. Thank you for wanting to be near me. Me?! Yes. You have found and forgiven me. Teach me to be nearer to you. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Spend time meditating on the questions above, praying through them and pondering God’s Word. Now spend more time in prayer, crystallizing your thoughts, your requests, and speaking to God in his own language of his Word in Scripture. Read Psalm 73, where Asaph reveals a common thought progression for believers who ask “why?”. Give special attention to verses 23-28. God is better than __________.