“God is Nigh”

Did you know there are lyrics to the song “Taps?” I didn’t. The song is used by the military for lights out (2100 hours), flag ceremonies and funerals. The tune is familiar to most people, but I didn’t know until recently that there were words to the song. There are a couple of versions. Here is one of them:

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hill, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh (near).

It is a great assurance to drift off to sleep knowing God is near. And it’s a great blessing when God reminds us that He is near to us. David, in Psalm 139, captures the essence of this in a celebration of God’s omnipresence:

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?

    Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

    your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

    and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;

    the night will shine like the day,

    for darkness is as light to you.

Psalm 139:7-12 (NIV)

Sometimes God blesses us with making His presence known to us. They are often referred to as “Mountaintop moments,” a reference to several episodes in the Bible where God made His presence known on mountains. I had one recently. Ramona shared with me a story she found on Facebook about an extremely wealthy man who bent down to pick up a penny. An employee who was being treated to his hospitality was stunned by this and eventually asked him why he would bother. His answer: every U.S. coin is imprinted with “In God We Trust.” He never misses the opportunity to be reminded to trust God.

I told Ramona I loved it and can’t wait to see a coin to pick up. But I then complained that the opportunity may not come for some time. The next morning, as I exited the bedroom, there in the hallway was…a penny! Now, Ramona was dealing with loose change a day or so earlier and it’s possible she dropped it. She doubts it, but even if she did, God did a lot of orchestrating for it to be meaningful to me. Later that morning he twice showed me verses in my quiet time about trusting Him. That’s a Mountaintop moment! When we don’t notice them or dismiss them as coincidences, we rob ourselves of them.

As David wrote, there is no place to hide from God’s presence. As a friend put it, “the penny (God) found you!” Many believers felt God went AWOL in 2020. But it is us who get caught up in circumstances and miss God’s presence, the Mountaintop moments.

Oswald Chambers adds another perspective to Psalm 139: “Do we believe that God can fortify and protect our thought processes far beyond anywhere we can go?”

The first 18 days of 2021 have shown that a turn of the calendar doesn’t mean our circumstances will improve, so we shouldn’t rely on them for joy, peace and contentment. So, while the year is still young, commit to keeping your gaze vertical, on God, rather than horizontal, on your surroundings. Mountaintop moments are rare treats. We live life in the valley of a broken world. So you don’t want to miss them when God surprises you with them! God is Nigh!

This post is republished with permission from Oakbrook Church, De Pere, WI.

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