Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee this year. She has been the queen now for 60 years and counting — second only to Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, 7 months. The now 86-year-old (the longest-lived ruler) is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms, and head of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations. She is also head of state of the Crown Dependencies. During her reign since 1952, her realms, at various times, have included the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, Ceylon, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. (The number has varied as territories gained independence and some realms became republics.) Pretty intimidating!
Queen Elizabeth is also the official head of the Church of England. In her Royal Christmas Message of 2000, broadcast to the Commonwealth, she said, “To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me, the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ's words and example.” I like that.
When do you feel most comfortable in the presence of God? When you’re walking through His creation, moved by His handiwork? When you have failed and seek His forgiveness? Or, how about when you least expect it — when the road ahead seems endless and you are facing an insurmountable obstacle? It could be when you are with your kids or grandkids, in a moment of quiet interaction, when listening to a beautiful song, or doing whatever it is that draws you close.
I have felt wonderfully close to my Lord at times. But, at other times, I’ve felt estrangement when I have allowed selfishness, ego, or flesh to take the central place in my life.
Are you in a comfortable place with our Lord today? The scripture says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8). How do you “come near”?
· Confess the “stuff” in your life.
· Surrender your anxieties and fears.
· Identify a quiet place to meet Him each day, and just be still and listen.
· Talk with Him about everything in the morning and in the evening.
Remember, He loves you unconditionally, even when He seems otherwise engaged. And He wants you to be comfortable in His presence, just like you want your children to feel comfortable with you.
The prayer our Lord prayed for His disciples is a prayer He continues to pray for you: “I in them and you in me” (John 17:23).