I’ve sang this verse a hundred times in an old hymnn at my inlaws’ church. I know this verse, like many others, like the back of my hand. Yet, sometimes I feel very far from God. It’s nothing I’ve done or have failed to do. I’m not going to reveal a deep hidden sin for the world to gawk at, take pity on me for, or condemn me over. That’s not what this is about. It’s about feeling separate. Seeking God and waiting in the silence for the reveal.
There have been seasons in my life where I’ve practically felt God walking besides me. This is not one of them. It’s a struggle spiritual people sometimes face. I remember reading about Mother Theresa and her omission that she too at times, felt far from God. I’m no Mother Theresa, not even close, but it makes me feel a little better to know even someone as remarkable as her has been through it too. It’s a strange place to be. Some would call it depression but I’m not too quick to dismiss the feeling with prejudice in search of a pharmaceutical solution, it’s different.
I should probably just call my mother. She’d tell me that God is Spirt and we are all always connected to him. I love the sentiment but I don’t believe that philosophers like Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle can reason me out of this season of life. My pastor and friends would probably tell me to spend more time at church; to their credit it’s probably good advice but this cannot be solved with fellowship.
What I am experiencing is most likely from God. I know how crazy that sounds. “God is separating himself on purpose?” “You feel far from him and it’s his doing not your own sin?” “Blasphemy!” I know how it sounds. It’s as if I have just reduced almighty God to a woman playing hard to get to make dating more interesting. Hear me out before you judge me. God wants a relationship with all of us. He wants to take priority in our lives.
What feels to me like distance is actually a God given desire to seek him. It’s like a wakeup call to read the bible, pray, and listen. I can be quite chatty sometimes but sometimes God wants us to simply listen: be ready, available and hungry for his word. I’m just a girl from Phoenix, Arizona so it’s not like I’m going to receive a revelation and bring about a new movement, I’m not even a pastor, yet alone, a prophet so don’t think I’m full of myself.
God wants to speak to those who seek him simply to help them. God isn’t picky about who he helps or who he talks to. If you’ve ever heard the story of a Christian successful recovering addict a lot of them will credit their success to a “God saved me from an ______ (overdose, murder, prison, etc.) and I knew I had to change. It’s like he was talking right to me in that moment.” Some would look down their nose and say “God hasn’t spoken to a man since Moses, so who are they to claim a privilege reserved for the pope or someone else worthy?” To them I would say you’re wrong. God speaks to lots of people if they will only listen.