"Life words"

In 1990, Bette Midler recorded the song From a Distance. Her rendition became an instant hit, soaring to the top of the pop charts. Not only did it win a Grammy, it went on to become one of the most requested songs on Saudi Band Radio during the First Gulf War.

The chorus to the song states, "God is watching us. God is watching us. God is watching us, from a distance."

God is watching us. That reassuring thought is a likely reason why so many in the military were drawn to the song. But the song has it wrong, God is not watching over us from a distance.

God isn't peering over the edge of heaven's walls, looking down on us from far, far away. The message of the Bible is that God is near (Psalm 145:17-19). That's why the baby Jesus received a very special name: "Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us' " (Matthew 1:23). The apostle John wrote that Jesus "became human and made His home among us" (John 1:14). And after rising from the dead, as He was about to ascend into heaven, He said to His followers, "Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

Though Jesus is "away" from us in His glorified body, God's Spirit lives in the hearts of those of us who are His children by faith (Galatians 4:6). The New Testament encourages us to "come close to God, and God will come close to you" (James 4:8).

That's anything but distant.

God is truly with us, not simply to keep us in line but to help us overcome the evil one, and to live the life He meant for us to live (1 John 3:8). , Jeff Olson, Our Daily Journey

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