All Thy love accepting

The other night I had a dream. In it two people sat on a bench, or a ledge, or a slab of rock, watching a group of friends at play. They did not speak to each other. They did not need to. They merely sat, close — and the quality of that closeness said more than any words ever could have.

When I woke, the memory of that closeness remained.

Dreams have a powerful effect on me. They always have. Throughout the day after the dream I mourned the loss of that feeling of closeness, wondering why I was still so far from experiencing that same thing in reality.

And then I realized the closeness I longed for was right there waiting for me, if I would only acknowledge it and respond.

Let me, all Thy love accepting,
Love Thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek Thy kingdom only,
And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see;
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me,
Thou Thyself hast set me free.

William Rees and William Williams’ hymn “Here is Love” paints a striking picture of Christ’s love for us, sacrifice for us, and steadfast support of us, yet it is this third verse that I come back to again and again, chewing over that phrase “Let me, all Thy love accepting …” It is not that we lack closeness itself or the potential for it, but that we so often insist on closeness on our own terms, as we prescribe, and refuse to accept the close relationship God offers us and desires to have with us.

In “The Pursuit of God,” A.W. Tozer writes, ” … So when we sing, ‘Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,’ we are not thinking of the nearness of place, but of the nearness of relationship. It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for a more perfect consciousness of the divine Presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.”

God is already closer to each of us than the brain in our skull, the heart in our body, the blood and plasma surging through our veins. He is closer than the dreams of our subconscious minds. And yet, relationship is a two-way street; closeness cannot happen if one person refuses the other’s offer to be close. But it is there for each of us, if only we will accept it.

“God is always near you and with you; leave Him not alone.” — Brother Lawrence