The Nearness of God is My Good
by Brenda Kuseski
The model for our discipleship must be the relationship between Jesus and His disciples: their close, loving friendship with their Lord. Truly, His “nearness” was their good—their best life possible. In his book And I Will be Found by You, Francis Frangipane comments on the vital lesson of Psalm 73:
The psalmist Asaph expresses a struggle we all might feel: he questions why the wicked seem to prosper while the righteous are chastened. He frets, until he enters the sanctuary of God. Once in the presence of God, Asaph realizes his error. Comparing himself to unbelievers, he sees that, apart from the influence of God, he has nothing in which to boast. He says, “When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before you” (Ps. 73:21,22).
Then he realizes that God alone is his salvation, and his relationship with God is his strength: “Nevertheless I am continually with you…You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And besides you, I desire nothing on earth…God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (vv. 23-26). The summary of Asaph’s revelation, the point of the chapter, is in verse 28: “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.”
Understand this truth: It is the nearness of God that produces our good. Christianity was never designed by God to be sustained by nice people trying to be good. ..If we are honest, we will admit that, apart from the work of God, there is nothing morally superior or virtuous about our lives. We have the same carnal passions, insecurities, and fears as non-believers. It’s only our relationship with Christ that keeps us from fulfilling the lusts and desires of the flesh; apart from Him, we can do nothing (Jn. 15:5).
A God-seeker is trained inwardly by the Holy Spirit so that his soul leans upon God for everything. When the God-seeker has become perfectly weak, God can show Himself perfectly strong.
[Frangipane gives the example of a businessman and his smart phone.] My friend depends greatly upon his phone… He carries this device with him everywhere. It reminds him of appointments and provides him with numerous details concerning his personal contacts. Connected to the Internet, he has access to unlimited realms of knowledge. Finally, it comes with a GPS so that he is always informed of road conditions and traffic; even in unfamiliar places, he never gets lost. My friend has developed real dependency on his phone.
In the same way, if we are to be true disciples, we must develop a conscious dependency upon the nearness of God. The Spirit organizes, directs, and informs us in life, so that even if we are traveling somewhere unfamiliar, we never get lost. We must learn to be aware that the Lord is with us, and when we cannot sense His nearness, we should feel troubled and vulnerable until we find Him again.