Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17 Reflection
This particular piece of the Book of Numbers is called ‘The oracle of Balaam, son of Beor,’ and it contains one of those phrases that sums up the whole Christian life in a few words.
“I see him—but not in the present,
I behold him-- but not close at hand.”
We are waiting for the birth of the Lord, the day of the coming of the Saviour. But in our own lives, in our spiritual journey, we are always aware that Jesus and God are just that little bit out of reach, that they are close and yet distant, near and far.
In our heart we know that God is near; we feel his closeness when we sit in silence in the chapel waiting on Mass to begin. Then there are other times when the same Lord appears to be so far away, when we know he is there but somehow he is not as close as we want him to be.
There is in God a sort of hiddenness and closeness all at the one time. This is a feeling that has been in people who seek God from the very beginning. If Balaam could write about it 3,000 years ago and I can identify with it today, then it is reasonable to say that such a feeling must be natural and if it is natural then it is part of God’s plan for us as we seek him.
Perhaps this is God’s way of making us go on, making us keep to the journey and planting in our hearts the desire to follow him. Without that desire to seek God we would do nothing, yet even our desire to seek God is itself a gift from him.