The Journey to God

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.  -Psalm 100:4-5

A little over a year ago my wife courageously made the trek from Wading River to Michigan alone with our two kids. She drove about 13 hours each way with two toddlers, by herself. Almost every person I have told about this responded exactly the same way. “Wow, she’s is really brave!” But even as they expressed their admiration for her courage to drive that far with the kids I could tell, somewhere in the back of their minds, they really wanted to say it was crazy.

To be honest, it is a little crazy to drive 13 hours (in the North, in February) with two small, needy and energetic children. So after the comment about her bravery and a brief pause, people would finally ask: why is she doing this? What could compel her to undertake such a task? The answer is simple. Her family is there and she wanted to be with them. Even though it was a long drive, it was worth it to be with them.

One of the most important questions for us to think about as Christians is who is God? This is a question that we sometimes take for granted but it’s important for us to really think through. Our answer matters immensely because who we believe God is and what we believe He is like will impact how (or if) we approach Him. But that leaves us with another question. Why? Why should we approach God? Why make the journey into his presence? After all, in the presence of God all our secrets are exposed. Our failures and sins are laid bare before the judge of all the earth and there is nowhere we can hide from his sight. So why would we ever subject ourselves to this willingly? Why would we come to the Lord who sees us as we really are?

In Psalm 100 the Psalmist calls us to come to this God, to enter into the court, the very presence, of the holy and pure God of all the universe. And the author tells us why we should do this. The reason is, very simply, that the Lord is good. The Lord loves us. His love and his faithfulness last forever. That probably isn’t new information. You have certainly heard that God is good and loving. But knowing love exists and experiencing love are two radically different things. My wife knew her family was in Michigan. She knew they loved each other and enjoyed being together. She could have stayed home with that knowledge intact but to experience the reality of it required her to go.

This is the thing about God’s love and goodness. Knowing it exists is easy. But to experience God’s love, to find the joy and eternal pleasure of the Lord for ourselves we have to go to Him. We have to lay our souls bare before God, with all of our flaws and failures and fears. The journey to God doesn’t require a long drive in a confined space with children. It requires honesty, the kind of honesty that is hard. It requires honesty about our weakness and our sin and our lack of desire to come. It requires honesty about our need of Jesus to bring us. But if we are honest, if we come to Jesus as we really are, we will discover for ourselves that he is good and that his love endures forever.