The Folded Napkin

We all have days when that little, doubtful, annoying voice comes creeping into our thoughts asking us, “where is God in this?” Although this pesky voice can come from a place of pain and confusion, I often times think that it can help you see the light of Christ in the darkest of moments. I had one of those days a few months back when someone very close to my friend went to be with the Lord. I was grieving for my friend and dealing with my personal problems. In the midst of a breakdown I decided to take a drive with a friend to ease my mind. While on the drive with no apparent destination, I became increasingly aware that I was in a moving vehicle that contained no tissues to stop the hurricane that was my tears. In an attempt to nail the shutters of my tear ducts closed to keep the rain at bay, I pulled over to a gas station to stock up on napkins. As I parked my car, I remembered the Bible that was waiting in the seat beside me. In a desire to feel closer to the Lord in a tangible way, I picked up my Bible and held it close to my chest. I then proceeded to pull one of those “I’ll just open it up and whatever page I turn to is what God wants me to read” moves. But when I opened that Bible, it turned to the book of 2 Kings. Oddly enough, it was not the words on that page or the meaning of the scripture that struck me with a lightening bolt of comfort. Rather, when I opened that leather covering and flipped randomly to a book I have yet to read, I saw a perfectly pressed, unused napkin. It was so simple and minuscule, yet at that moment, what I needed most in life was just one napkin. In that moment, I heard Jesus say to my heart, “Baylee, I am always near to you. I am always with you.” My tears of defeat turned into tears of peace. As I sat in that car, I realized that this randomly and perfectly placed napkin was representative of the Lord’s faithfulness and nearness to me.

As I sat there relishing in God’s love for me, I began to fully believe that not only was my God all-powerful and forever seated high, but He was also near to me; that during every second of every day, God is walking beside me, personally calling my name – waiting for me to take His sovereign hand as my guide.

“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.” – Psalm 145:18″

“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off?” – Jeremiah 23:23

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” – James 4:8

Whenever you feel alone, isolated, fearful, or powerless, meditate on the truth that the eternal King of all things is near to you, right beside you, holding you. He is not looking down on you, distant and impersonal. Rather, the Lord is holding you tight, pursuing you through any barrier, valley, or mountain that stands in the way. Nothing can separate God’s power and love from you (Romans 8:38-39).

The best part about this truth is that it isn’t circumstantial. God doesn’t promise to be near to us and walk through life alongside us as long as we’re the “best” person in the room. He doesn’t promise to carry us through life as long as we do enough “good things” throughout the day. He doesn’t promise to protect and be our shield as long as we never make a mistake. If these things were true, then that would mean that we could earn God’s favor and love, and boy am I glad that’s not the case. God’s love and grace is not based on anything that we do, but rather it’s based on everything that He is. Therefore, God’s promise to always be near to those who know Him and draw near to Him is not an “as long as.” It is a promise based not on you, but on His character – unchanging, certain, constant.

One Sunday morning I was in church. But while my body stood in the pew, my mind was far away, distracted by the anxiety that had been paralyzing me for the past three days. As I was trying to worship through the worry that was creeping into my mind, an image popped into my head. It was an image of me, on the ground, overwhelmed and hurting. However, I was not alone. Rather than dealing with my imaginary breakdown by myself, Jesus was there, sitting on the ground beside me, holding me tight as I cried. This picture in my mind is what comforts me when I begin to feel anxious or sad. It is what breaks through the dark weight that sometimes comes upon of all of us, and lets the Truth and light of God come crashing through. God’s love can not be stopped and can not be drowned out by any darkness. His love is what draws you near to Him and what allows Him to never leave nor forsake you. The good Lord is always near to you. He is relentlessly and lovingly pursuing you in ways we sometimes don’t even notice at first. Rather you’re dancing effortlessly through life right now or crawling with all the strength you have to get through a single day, God is there. You have the eternal King on your side. He is near to you, waiting for you to take His hand and find rest in His presence.

The Lord provided for me and reminded me of His Truth in an ordinary napkin. Take time to notice God working in your life. What will be your folded napkin?

 

 

 

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