James 4:8 a (New International Version)
8Come near to God and he will come near to you.
I can see it and feel its texture in memory, even now, nearly half a century later. It was a small book in every dimension except thickness; and weighty. Its delicate pages were almost gossamer thin, rustling as though whispering to me when I turned them--and they creased easily. The front and back of the faded blue cover were slightly loose through much handling, but I think that if it could speak, the book would say that it liked being creased and loose rather than in pristine condition, gathering dust on a shelf.
The book belonged, and still does, to my brother Robert, three years younger than me, and it was his christening bible--a gift from his God-parents. It was the only bible in our house, with the exception of Mum's black leather bound bible in Dutch, which might have been in Zulu as far as my ability to read it was concerned!
Inside the front cover of Robert's bible, someone had written, "Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you" James 4:8. My eyes fell upon these words many times as a child because, avid reader that I was, I even read the Bible--King James Version--because I wanted to.
There's a verse in Isaiah (55:11) that says that God's words will never return to him empty, but will always accomplish the purpose they were sent out for. It's as though they are heat seeking missiles, looking for their intended target. I believe that with all of my heart and wonder if that's why I am so drawn to him, and how I know that he will not land on a moving target. He looks for one that cares enough to be still, sit at his feet, and draw near to him.
2 Chronicles 15:2 (New International Version)
2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.