Until the 1830s, the Glens of Antrim, on the northeast coast of Ireland, were mostly isolated from the rest of the country. The area was locked in by the Antrim Plateau, a stunning range of steep hills that rise as high as 360m. People relied on the muddy tracks that rose and fell over the steep-sided glens; in winter, the area was pretty much cut off. Travelling 12 miles by sea to Scotland for trading purposes was easier than getting to the rest of Ireland by land. Civil engineer William Bald envisioned building a road at the foot of the cliffs instead of building the road inland. When the work on the Antrim Coast Road was finished in 1842, the residents along that part of the coast had access to the rest of Ireland. Today, the route is known as one of the most scenic drives in the world.
In Hebrews 10:19-22a, we read, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him.”
If you or I were to attempt to drop into the official residence of the Prime Minister, President or Taoiseach for a chat, we wouldn’t get past the front door. However, as believers in Christ, because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we can approach God’s presence with freedom and confidence, knowing that He welcomes us as He did His own Son. When we consider this, Jesus told us it would be best for Him to go away because He would leave us with the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). We have the right, responsibility and privilege to come to God to pray to Him and worship Him right in His presence. Because of our access to our Heavenly Father, we can approach Him anytime and anywhere because the way is fully open. We can pray when we hear the day’s pressing issues on the news, pray as we walk and drive through our communities that God would bless all its residents and businesses, pray for our leaders that they would lead well and pray for our churches that they would be a beacon of hope and have opportunities to share and show the love of Jesus.
Perhaps today, we can take this access for granted or think we aren’t worthy or capable of approaching our Almighty God. However, if Jesus Christ is your Saviour, He isn’t just near you, but inside you (John 14:17). God’s Holy, Almighty presence lives within you! The door is fully open to come to Him!
Father, I pray that we, as Jesus’ followers, wouldn’t take for granted the access we have to You. As we look to You for Ireland, we remain confident that You hear and answer our prayers. So, we continue to ask You to move in the hearts and minds of all who live throughout this land. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.