Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Lord Thou Art My God And King"1 (Lyrics)
Today, Canadians observe a day named in honour of Queen Victoria, who ruled the British Empire for 63 years from 1837 to 1901. The holiday is celebrated as the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, the currently reigning monarch. As we do so, I am reminded of my encounter with her.
When I was eleven, our family was on holiday in British Columbia. The small town of Lytton, where we stayed one night, was abuzz. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip would be making an appearance at the railway station on their royal train tour across Canada, in just a few hours! We were all excited. The Queen was important to people then. Every baby born on June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth's coronation, received a silver spoon. Every school child received a special coin to commemorate the occasion. A crowd had gathered by the time the royal train finally pulled in. Everyone waved the small Canadian flags that we were given, and a young girl presented the Queen with flowers. Wedged in the crowd, I craned my neck to have a good look. "I was about two inches away from the Queen," I noted in my first diary, followed by six exclamation marks. I was close enough to touch her! Of course, I wouldn't have even dared to touch Her Majesty. It was just enough to be that close, and revel in the experience of seeing the Queen in the flesh. Awe and respect for her authority put up an invisible barrier.
In another crowd, at another time, there was a similar barrier of awe and respect:
Matthew 9:20-22 – Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, "If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed." Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, "Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well." And the woman was healed at that moment. (NLT)
Another crowd had gathered as Jesus hung on the cross.
Matthew 27:51 – At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart. (NLT)
At the moment when Jesus died, God removed the barrier between Himself and humankind. Before this time, only the high priest could go behind the curtain of the Most Holy Place, and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement. He was the only one who could offer sacrifices to deal with the sins of the people. Only he could approach the Lord on their behalf.
Now we can approach God anytime! Because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, we can approach God boldly, and He will hear us and answer our prayers. We have access to Him anytime, anywhere. Let's not be afraid to reach out to Him in any circumstance. He is as near as our breath. We can touch Him!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for removing the barrier that separated us from Yourself. Thank You that we can connect with You anywhere at any time. Thank You that You are so close to us that we can touch You, and You can touch us. We thank You, in Jesus' name. Amen.