Near and Dear — Gwen Ford Faulkenberry

I say these things…so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. John 1 7:13 NIV

These words from John 17 come from the prayer that Jesus prayed at the time of His crucifixion—for His disciples and for us (the disciples to come). They express a desire that He had for all of His followers to experience His fullness. A full measure of my joy. The prayer, Jesus, Be Near Me, expresses the desire of our hearts when we long to be closer to Him. Sometimes it may be a simple request. Other times, probably more often, for most of us it is a cry from deep within our souls—Be near me in my distress! Be near me in my hurts! Be near me in my doubts and fears! Be near me through the storm!

I believe during these times it is important to remember Jesus’ prayer for us. It is easy to understand, in our human condition, why we would need Jesus and feel the desire to have Him near. As my Dad says, we are a needy people. We need help, wisdom, blessing, strength, comfort, grace, love, hope, joy—all of the things Jesus is. Our deep desire for Him is eclipsed by only one thing: His longing to be near to us. He is longing to be near me. Me. Tears roll down my cheeks as I write this. What a mindboggling truth it is that Jesus wants us near—wanted us even when we didn’t want Him. He wanted us badly enough to die so that He could bring us near!

Even after all of these years of being a Christian and experiencing the wonders of His presence, I still find myself cringing—hoping, doubting that He would really want to be near me. It’s hard to comprehend such a radical love. After all, why would He want to be near me? I’m not always easy to be around. I’m not exactly what you’d call low-maintenance; I’d try the patience of any lesser God. Furthermore, I’m not much to look at. Not the sharpest crayon in the box. I lose my temper, make stupid decisions, and am not always a lot of fun. It’s like Einstein hanging out with a Physics class dropout or Mr. Universe dating a mousy, bookish nerd. Why would He do that? Maybe you can relate? And yet, when He was on the way to the cross, we were on His mind. He prayed for me—and you—to have his fullness. Not just a little bit of Him. All of the fullness of His joy. We don’t have to cringe or coax Him to be near us. He died so that’s where He could always stay—near me.

How thankful I am, my dear, beloved Jesus, that You actually want to be near me. I pray that I won’t ever let anything get in Your way. Know that in my heart and life You have the open invitation: Be near me today, tomorrow, and forever. I want to walk in the fullness of Your joy.


Gwen Ford Faulkenberry


Publicly, Trisha is a well-established editor for a mammoth corporation. Privately, however, she sorts and stacks, tosses and tallies, pitches and plunders. She devotes serious time and energy to a hobby that would make goddesses like Martha Stewart and Julie Morgenstern blush. She is a home manager. That, and she loves to write. She just published her first book--Trust, Hope, Pray.

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