One of the most universal struggles for Christ followers throughout time has been that of feeling distant from God. We go to church and clap our hands while thinking about mowing the lawn later. We pray with our kids while thinking about the dishes. We wake up, work, and then go to sleep and realize that we did not seek God in any way throughout the day. Day in and day out we realize that we’re just going through the motions and we’re making no headway with “finding” God again. It’s one of the most soul-crushing episodes to experience.
I think that it’s such a difficult exercise (getting close to God) because since we were in Sunday school we’ve been taught that God is ALWAYS with us. No matter what we do, or where we go, God is already there. We take great solace in this as our brain twists it (I believe) to mean that God is seeking US. You see, I can run over there and live my life the way that I want and when I need Him, I’ll just turn around and He’ll be right there to catch me if I fall. Right? Cause God is always with me, so as soon as I need Him, He’s within arm’s reach! All I have to do is say a quick prayer, and BOOM – I’m right back to some deep, intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe! Well, yes and no.
The pursuit of Christ is one heckuva exercise in humility, passion, and patience.
First the humility. Where are you at with your life? How are things going? When left to your own selfish, destructive behaviors….well…how is that working out for you? You’re probably tired, frustrated, stressed, and angry. Basically, you’re a mess. And you must realize that you can’t lead your own life. Yes, that’s a bitter pill to swallow, but welcome to humility. If you understand that without God your life is a trainwreck, you’re in a pretty good spot.
Next up is passion. I am no spiritual guru (despite penning a Spiritual column), but I would have to say that this is the hardest part, as your passion is only defined between you and Christ. So you are praying, but are you REALLY praying? Are you truly, earnestly seeking God? Or are you just going through the motions? Nobody knows except for you and God. Are you honestly at a point where you are giving all that you have to God and digging into a closer relationship with Him? Again, this is between you and God. No matter what exercise that you might put yourself through in order to show a passion for finding God, without true PASSION, it’s little more than a to-do item on your checklist. Just like you, I pray. And sometimes during the middle of that prayer, I’ve drafted an email in my head. Yup – guilty as charged. I’ve sang with the music at church and closed my eyes….and thought about my tax returns. I’m not seeking God – I’m going through the motions. A fervent, fire-driven passion for God Himself is what is necessary to move you out of your funk. And let me tell ya, it ain’t easy.
Lastly, patience. Isaiah 40:31 tells us that those “who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” The act of patience in the Bible is of a particular curiosity to me, as God’s timetable for patience can be seriously cumbersome. Moses’ people toiled for CENTURIES while waiting on the Lord. As in, 400 years. While I trust that He won’t expect us to toil in the deserts as slaves for centuries, I have no doubt that He is perfectly fine with forcing us to WAIT. So will he make us wait 400 years before He shows His presence? Nah. But you are also expected to find that humility, the passion, and the patience in order to give God the space to move in your life.
We all experience the absence of God in our lives. That sentence is a bit of an oxymoron, as God has never left us, but at the same time, it’s universal to drift in and out of God’s presence.
We’re entering a new year, and I hope a new beginning for you. Evaluate your life. Where are you with your spiritual walk? Where is God in your life? If you’re missing out on Him, the issue isn’t that He has moved away from you, but rather, you have yet to choose a path to find Him again.
Good luck. I’m on the same journey.