when God feels distant…
Have you ever read something that haunted you afterward?
I read a blog a few weeks ago and thought about how I wanted to respond for days.
I thought about it when I was driving in my car.
I thought about it when I was laying in bed at night.
I thought about it when I was doing devotions.
Because what I read brought me back to the time in my life when I was far from God.
The darkness. The loneliness. The aimlessness.
The hurt. The anger. The pain.
Life without God is so empty. I know, because I’ve lived it and I have the scars to show for it.
And I recognized it in this expertly written blog.
I wanted to fix it…the brokenness of this heart. I wanted to be able to reach out and cut through what must be years of heartache and rejection and speak healing truth into this soul.
I don’t know what broke it, but I do know who can fix it, was my repeating thought.
My heart ached to somehow show this writer the overwhelming, intimate love of the Father that I have found.
Here’s what wrecked me: The writer is standing on the dock, looking far out across the waves, and catches a glimpse of God passing by in a ship. To the writer’s dismay, God waves, but never comes closer to the dock. The writer waits, hopeful, that God will return and get him, but God never does. He is left standing there, time and again, seemingly rejected by a God who doesn’t care enough to draw closer in his ship.
And that’s how the blog ends. No resolution, only disillusion.
It didn’t sit well with my soul.
Should I respond? I didn’t really have a relationship with the writer and I got the feeling he wasn’t looking for feedback when he wrote it. But still, I felt an unrest in my soul.
Finally, I prayed about it; I asked God if and how I should respond. And his answer was simple and immediate:
Get in the water.
It’s the truth…standing on the dock, waiting, never will accomplish much.
If you want to be close to God, to feel the depth of his love, then swim as hard as you can toward him. Don’t wait on the dock for him to come to you! Humble yourself and swim with everything you have out to him. Swim out deep into the water, over your head, into the giant waves and be totally tossed by the sea. Swim in reckless abandon towards him.
He will meet you in the water.
He will love you with an everlasting, never-failing, unconditional, grace-filled, sacrificial love.
The love you have always hoped for.
When you seek him with all that you have, you will find him.
James 4:7-8 says: “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”
Getting in the water means going all in. It means desiring a relationship with God more than anything else: more than the comfort and safety of the dock, more than the strongholds of this world that keeps you from swimming, more than the pride that keeps you from jumping in.
Come close to God and God will come close to you.
What does getting in the water mean?
It means getting in the Word. Abiding in it. Reading it daily and getting to know the Father and his son. Reading the Word is pursuing God. It will humble you, help purify you, and make your heart like his. It will reveal his majestic love and amazing grace.
He will meet you there, in the pages of his Word.
It means praying. Seeking his will, surrendering control and listening for his voice. Praying is also pursuing God. Matthew 7:7-8 urges: “Keep on asking and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
He will meet you there, on your knees in prayer.
Because His love never fails.
It never fails.
Get in the water, beloved.
Don’t stand on the dock.
Don’t wait any longer.
Get in the water.
Psalm 100:5 “For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”
In case you were wondering, I did respond to that blog. I left a comment that was heartfelt but honest. First, I complimented the writing. Then, I shared how I had also stood at the dock, wishing God would come. When he didn’t, I left the dock, but that was even worse than waiting had been. So, I returned to the water, but instead of standing on the dock, this time I got in the water and started to swim. And swimming accomplished for me what standing on the dock never could. I wished him the best.
I never heard back, and that’s ok. I honestly didn’t expect a reply.
Friends, when God feels distant, can I lovingly encourage you to get in the water?
If you are standing on the dock, disillusioned, can I urge you to swim?
Unfailing love will meet you there in the waves.
You need only to get in the water. It starts with reading the Word and praying.
If you desire to take a step in the water today…
Read Psalm 136, and pray this prayer:
Thank you for your promise of unfailing love. I desire to know you more. Please humble me, Lord, so I can see you and know you in all your fullness. Give me the courage to get off of the dock and swim to you. Please meet me as I read your Word and pray to you with a sincere heart. Make me more like you, draw me close. Give me the courage to swim.
Blessings to you, friend. I love hearing from you. Feel free to message me or contact me and I will get on my knees for you.
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