It was another dark morning, and I really didn’t want to do my quiet time. My Bible, journal, and colored pens were nearby on my desk…but other things demanded my attention. My phone beckoned me. My laptop beckoned me. My to-do list beckoned me.
I had a choice to make.
That morning, I chose to open my laptop, look at recipes, visit blogs, and write a post. Sometimes I’m better. But most days I’m not.
Sure, I do my quiet time. I actually do sit down with my Bible, journal, and colored pens. But I rush through my devotions. I don’t set my alarm early enough. I hurry off to class without even praying.
No wonder God seems so far away.
Why He Feels So Far
For years, I’ve struggled with feelings that God is distant. He seems to be present in others’ lives but not in mine. I can see Him working in the hearts of others but not in my heart. I listen to other people say they “hear” God but I just can’t.
Why does it seem impossible to pursue Him? Why is it so easy to pursue my interests, dreams, and goals but not His? Why is it so difficult to imitate His character?
Maybe because we’re human. We’re sinful. We still tend to be self-centered, even as Christians. Maybe it’s even easier to pursue something we can see than a God who we can’t see.
But just because we can’t see Him doesn’t mean He isn’t here.
He Isn’t as Far Away as He Feels
God didn’t full reveal Himself to mankind until He sent Jesus Christ to earth. That was the first time God came to us in human form to live among us. We were no longer apart.
And we are still not apart.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8 NASB)
This is a promise from God Himself. We may not be able to feel Him, but we are promised that if we seek Him, He will come close. We might not be able to observe His pursuit of our hearts, but His pursuit is recklessly real nonetheless. We might not be able to hear or see Him, but He can still be found.
“‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’” (Jeremiah 29:12-14)
In this passage, God is speaking to the people through Jeremiah. This message is for the exiles who had been in Jerusalem and were captured by Nebuchadnezzar (v. 1). After 70 years in Babylon, the exiles were going to return to Jerusalem and would be able to find God (vv. 10, 14).
God may not reveal His plans or purposes to us, but He isn’t trying to hide from us. We must consciously choose to keep pursuing Him, no matter how we feel. We can’t rely on our constantly changing emotions and experiences to show us where God is.
This Side of Heaven
Our pursuit of God will not be finished until we meet Him in heaven. Until then, we likely won’t be able to physically see or hear Him. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to find Him!
God’s voice isn’t audible and His presence isn’t tangible, but we can find Him by reading His Word, praying, and listening to other believers.
We’re always going to have feelings that God is distant. We’re always going to question why God seems to be working in others’ lives but now our own. We’re always going to doubt whether God is truly here with us. Some of these feelings, questions, and doubts are simply part of living in a flawed world. But some of them can be resolved with a more dedicated pursuit of God.
Friends, our pursuit of God doesn’t have to feel impossible. It’s only impossible if we refuse to follow Him.