By Dr. John I. Snyder
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
This truth of God’s open-door policy is one of the greatest privileges and comforts we can possibly experience in life. There isn’t a second of time when he’s not in the business of listening to our prayers or considering our distress. His court is always in session. How many people do you know whom you can always reach, no matter how busy they are, or who even answer their phone, emails, or text messages?
Yet God’s accessibility suffers from a bad case of over-familiarity. As believers, we just take for granted that God is available to us every minute of the day. We can call out to him in pray whenever we need. Built into us is something that lets us know, in a way we can’t quite explain, that there is a God and we know we have at least some access to him. Even those of other religions (or not) know there is Someone out there who hears them. That’s why most of the world prays. It seems to be stamped upon our conscience.
But what is a comfort for many, is bad news for others. The idea of a very personal God who has his door open 24/7 speaks of a connection with God that makes them very uneasy. They who would prefer that he either not exist or that he be just a god who minds his own business—an impersonal entity that we have no obligations to at all. For to acknowledge that there exists a real, near, all wise, all-powerful God who knows all there is to know about everything, means being accountable to him. It’s the idea of moral boundaries and having to explain (or ask forgiveness for) our bad behavior that’s just not a very happy thought.
But if anything about Jesus’ teaching is clear, it’s this: the Creator of the universe is absolutely personal, intimately involved in his world, highly purposeful, everywhere present, and scrupulously compassionate and attentive to his creatures. He’s there for us all the time. He’s aware of every bird, every flower, and every human being down to the last molecule and atom. He’s also aware of every issue, need, concern, fear, hope, motivation, and heart’s desire of every person.
One of the central messages of Jesus is that God has flung wide open the door to his inner sanctuary and invited his creatures to be with him. When we learn to regard God as “Papa”, we should see him as the doting Father-King, full of majesty and holiness, yet also bursting with parental affection and pride.
Jesus’ message of God’s immediate and direct accessibility was considered so out of kilter with the world’s ideas and beliefs, that he was thought presumptuous and even blasphemous. No one in all history came anywhere near to saying things like this about God. This truth is unique to Christian faith.
The personally available heavenly Father is one of the distinctive facts that was first brought into the world through the Gospel of Jesus. For much of the world that really rejoices in the existence of God, this comes as an enormous relief and a source of great joy. No longer can our Creator be thought the great narcissist in the sky who spends his time admiring his own glory in the mirrors of the galaxy, but the welcoming, inviting host of the party who extends his hand to the lowliest and least expected (and least worthy) guests at the royal banquet.
Questions to consider:
1) Why do you think that for many people the whole idea of a very personal God who has his door open to his creatures 24/7 is so uncomfortable?
2) How does it affect your prayer life to know that God is aware of every bird, every flower, and every human being down to the last molecule and atom?
Think about the following statement:
There isn’t a second of time when God is not in the business of listening to our prayers or considering our plight. His court is always in session.