At Hand

At Hand

I’ve got quite a few things within reach as I type these words: my computer, of course, and my desk, a bunch of books, pictures of my wife and kids, and dozens of other things.

They’re “at hand,” so to speak, because I can reach them from where I sit.

Wherever you are, look around. What’s within your reach? What’s “at hand”?

The way Paul uses that expression in Philippians 4:5 both comforts and warns us.

The Lord is at hand.

Or according to several translations, “The Lord is near” (NASB, NRSV, NIV).

Amazing, isn’t it? He’s here with you right now. He was with you through the night, and he’ll be beside you as you live, worship, eat, drink, and rest today.

It’s a comforting thought, but I think there’s also a bit of a warning here.

Paul seems to be using the idea to remind the Philippians that Jesus really does care about what they do and how they think. The apostle has just urged them to rejoice and be gentle. He’s about to tell them not to worry, but rather to pray, give thanks, and be at peace.

And in the middle of all that, he tells them the Lord is “at hand.” “At hand” means the Lord is nearby, but it’s more than that. It means he’s interested in what we’re doing. He hears our words, observes our actions, knows our thoughts.

Not in the sense of someone who’s hoping we’ll make a mistake so he can condemn us. But rather he’s with us to encourage us and help us.

We’ll struggle with sin some, and there are many causes. One reason is we forget that the one who died because of our sin is right here with us.

When I think about that, truly appreciate it, it helps me to take sin more seriously.

The Lord is at hand.

Take some time to reflect today, and ask God to help you to be more conscious of his presence. It’ll almost certainly help you live more consistently with his will.


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