Have you ever met a bison? I have, and it was quite an experience!
Come near to God and He will come near to you.
On a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park, we traveled through the Lamar Valley, a location noted for its wealth of wildlife. We were not disappointed, finding the valley flush with antelope, elk and bison. The herds of bison were happily munching on grasses far from the roadside making it difficult for me to see them, but that’s OK, because on my last trip to Yellowstone, I got to see a bison up close and personal.
Eric and I had just returned to our cabin after a day of sightseeing around the park. As we pulled into our parking space, Eric glanced into the rearview mirror, drew in an astonished breath, and exclaimed “There’s a bison over there! Right there beside the hotel!”
In a flash,, we jumped out of the truck and turned to face the rear of the Yellowstone Lake Hotel. Sure enough, there was a full grown bison standing in the hotel shrubbery just chewing away on his evening snack. he was completely comfortable with his surroundings, showing no concern whatsoever about the scattering of people who had shown up to stare at him.
Since our tour guide had schooled us on the importance of maintaining a safe distance of at least 50 feet from all wild animals in the park, I quickly scouted around for an appropriate spot to watch the bison’s little feeding frenzy. Across the gravel drive at the back of the hotel was a boardwalk style exit ramp. Given its elevation, it looked like a great spot to watch the festivities from. Eric and I scrambled over and climbed the ramp, neither of us taking our eyes off the feeding buffalo. All the while, the bison kept up his grazing, gradually making his way down the line of landscaping. We watched in fascination, simply mesmerized by this gigantic creature so content to remain in our presence.
But then it suddenly got real interesting! The bison raised his massive head, looked around and started stepping forward, headed straight for our location. There we were, perched on the exit ramp, but finding no exit since the bison decided to pause directly below our feet. Only the wooden railing separated him from me. My mouth flew open in absolute shock. We were not supposed to be within 50 feet of this massive mammal, but apparently no one had shared this safety rule with the bison!
But no matter, the bison wasn’t a bit concerned about our proximity, and with a shake of his head, he went back to feeding on the fauna under his feet. He was so close that I could have reached out and stroked his massive shoulder through the deck railing. My eyes grew quarter sized as I turned to Eric and mouthed, “This THING is HUGE!” (Emphasis on thing and huge with full Southern drawal!)
I grew up around cows on my grandfather’s farm. I had seen some hefty bulls up close, but nothing could compare with the enormous size and strength of the humongous creature standing only a few feet from my toes. Talk about up close and personal! It was a close encounter of the wildlife kind!
Up close and personal, a chance meeting that became an unforgettable experience., a close encounter that left me awestruck. It was a moment of sheer amazement, a moment I will forever treasure.
Up close and personal, that’s the kind of experience that our Lord wants to have with us. He is always within reach, but so often we miss His presence. We are too busy looking the other way, too mesmerized by our daily distractions. Sometimes we are so attached to the things of this world that we hold God at arm’s length, keeping our distance lest the Lord see the depth of our iniquity. We run and hide instead of coming clean and seeking His ever available forgiveness.
What would it be like to turn in His direction, to call upon His Great Name? What comfort, what peace could we claim if we stopped our running and reached out to receive His redeeming touch?
John 15:4a issues the invitation “Abide in me, and I in you….” (NKJV).,
The Lord is waiting, His hand outstretched to welcome us into His loving arms. He wants a real and enduring relationship with you and me. No matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done, He is ready to forgive and receive us into His grace.
Oh, what a marvelous God we have. Isn’t it time we let Him get up close and personal with us? If we let Our Lord Jesus draw near to us, it will surely be a close encounter of the unforgettable kind.
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.
Hebrews 10:22 – NIV
O Lord Jesus, draw near to us. Let us feel Your presence. Let us bask in the light of Your amazing love. Cleanse us of our iniquity. Clothe us in Your robe of righteousness. Lord, let us abide in You, that You might abide in us.
In the Precious Name of Jesus, we pray,