The drawer on the right-hand side on my computer desk holds various and sundry of things, as I am sure
yours does.  My prized possessions in there are pencils and a fist full of wooden or plastic rulers.  I think I developed this obsession in the third grade, and I seem to be stuck there.
The pencils: I’ve always doodled, sketched, and killed time with a sharp lead point.  The rulers: I can’t explain that fascination.  I think it has to do with the four straight edges and the perfection of it; I desperately need some perfection in my life, and evidently, it must come from an outer source!
Yesterday, I dropped rather heavily into my desk chair.  I just needed time to think and let my brain stop whizzing in circles for a bit.  The computer screen was dark… good!   I did not want to be distracted by anything, and for a while, I wasn’t.  But there, gracing my desk in all of its “finger stained, natural wooden” glory was twelve inches of pure “thought~capturing” diversion.
A ruler, reflecting older times in my home-town, had made its way to the desktop, and compelled my fingers to trace its smooth “silken with use” length and read the inscription printed indelibly so long ago.  The name of the company, the address, and then, “Live Plants in Season” ~ it mentioned roses, bedding plants, etc.  I was hooked; I flipped it over, expecting to see, perhaps, a blank side, but no… “Plant Guide” ~ ok then!
I read, the wheels turned, and God led.
(On a ruler?  Yep, there is.)
“Distance Between Plants”
4″-6″ Lettuce, Beets, Carrots, Onions, Beans.
On down the ruler I kept reading, and at the bottom was 36″-48″ Muskmelon, Watermelon.  If it was spring-time I could use this ruler to plant the correct distance from each tomato to the other!
Um, how about studying other meanings or measurements of the word “distance?”  First, please understand these are my conclusions.
About the distance between neighbors, my mother always quoted her father’s saying, “Fences make good neighbors.”  I agree with that.  To my way of thinking, a good neighbor keeps neat borders in the front yard where they can publicly visit.  Fenced in back yards are private domains, and “only” when invited to step through the gate and visit in the back yard, do you know you are getting more personal and involved in a sincere friendship.
The distance between friends can be a good or bad thing.  Take care not to cross lines.  In my youth, I doubt I followed my own advice.  Friendships are to be treasured, and can turn fragile when there is too much contact, or interference, or misguided guidance is offered without praying for wisdom before speaking.  I don’t want to distance myself from a friend in a cold way, but in a cautious way, to preserve the connection we make by choice, as we are drawn to care and share with each other.
Then there is this: distance between family members.  Often it is not measured in inches but in miles, whether the distance is due to dwelling areas, or distance due to emotions.  I feel so sorry for families who have scant love for each other, and have no desire to be together.  I consider the yearning to enjoy each other’s company the gold star in relationships.  Certainly, with closeness comes our feelings, which can be hurt, occasionally boundaries are ignored as we flounder in the act of developing into the family God would have us be.   Forgiveness is the greatest blessing He sheds on a family and all other relationships.  “Love for family” is naturally instilled in us by the Lord, but forgiveness is an “ask and you will receive” deal.  He has offered a blessing only He can supply, forgiveness will adjust distance between loved ones according to His preference.
Finally, distances concerning God and His children (Christians) can be described as “He is close as our breath,” when our relationship is loving, obedient, and learning.  They can reflect an edgeless dark chasm when we have erred, strayed, or just ignored the God of the universe.  How close we think we are to the Father is based upon our perceptions rather than scripture.  How “distant” we get from the truth when we choose not to read and immerse ourselves in His word, and begin to trust our own understanding.  “With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment.” Proverbs 3:5 CEV
In repentance and worship, we must always remember, Jesus made promises to us: “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you.” Hebrews 13:5 The Message
Does He hear me?  Is He always truly near?  “I will answer their prayers before they finish praying.” Isaiah 65:24 CEV.  That means yes, He is near, always.
It is a matter of trust; do we trust Holy Scripture?  God’s word?  “Do not panic.  I’m with you.  There is no need to fear for I am your God.  I’ll give you strength.  I’ll help you.  I’ll hold you steady; keep a firm grip on you.”  Isaiah 41: 10 The Message.  This sounds as if He is indeed very close to you, and to me.
This nearness to God we can experience is due to one thing, one person, and is expressed in Ephesians 2:13, first in “The Message” Version, and the repeated in the New Century Version.  “Now because of Christ ~ dying that death, shedding that blood ~ you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.”  And this… “But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away from God are brought near through the blood of Christ’s death.”  I like how it is stated in both versions; once we were afar, now we are near.
Therefore, those scriptures seal it; there is no distance between Father, Son,  Holy Spirit, and His children.
The best bibical use of the word “distance” in modern vernacular when speaking of our neighbor, our friend, our families, ourselves is: He went the distance for us and now is eternally near.
Again, thinking of “distance” in relation to my neighbor, friend, family and myself… I am led to John 17:21-22:  Living Bible: “My prayer for all of them is that they will be one of heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father ~ that just as you are in me and I in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me.  I have given them the glory you have given me ~ the glorious unity of being one, as we are~”
My salvation is His glory; His prayer is my glory.  He desires closeness to us.
He desires us to experience a nearness to each other, just like onions and carrots! (See ruler.)
Then in verse 23: New Century Version.  “I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one ~ so that the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me.”  This is blessed assurance.
I’m happy my ruler caught my attention and carried me on a spiritual path for a while.  I must now inch my way toward the kitchen and see about supper.
To understand the depth of love the Father has for us, and how vast, no ruler can measure, read Luke 22, and enjoy, worship, and praise; draw near!


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