Over the last few days I have had several messages from friends who are struggling with their faith, feel far from God, confused about who and where God is. How is it that the God is omniscient and omnipresent can seem so hard to find?
1. Problem number one is that we don’t always seek God with our whole heart, – with everything that is within us. We are not willing to give up the pursuit of everything else in our lives in order to seek God with urgency, boldness and enduring perseverance. We allow busyness to distract us, sacrificing closeness to God for our career or social ambitions. Even our work for God can absorb our time in such a way that it leaves little space for drawing close to the eternal creator of our universe. How many of us when we feel far from God are willing to set everything else aside to seek after God until we once more feel the intimacy of the divine presence?
2. We don’t purse God with repentant hearts. Confession and repentance is something that has kind of gone out of fashion. How many of us take time on a regular basis to look into our own hearts and ask the hard question – what is separating me from God? What do I need to repent of and seek forgiveness for? There are many times in my life that I have clung to things that I know God wants me to let go of – possessions, attitudes, emotions that make it impossible for me to draw close to the lover of my soul.
Sometimes I have come to God with anger rather than repentance, or with self justification and arrogance rather than humility. Sometimes I don’t want to let go of my resentments or my anxieties. It is easier to hold onto these than it is to face the God who is love and then I wonder why God seems distant.
3. We are looking for the wrong kind of God. God is loving and patient and kind, slow to anger, quick to show mercy. God is just and righteous but also forgiving. God is generous and compassionate, the provider of abundance, the bringer of peace. And we cannot come close to this God without developing these same characteristics. It is no wonder God seems far away when we constantly ask selfishly for our own advancement, comfort and ease. We we are absorbed in ourselves we cannot recognize God or else the revelation of God is so blindingly magnificent that we cannot cope with it.
4.Our God is too small. Many of us are satisfied with a very small revelation of God. We should never be content to rest in our current knowledge of God. We should always be seeking to learn more of God’s love, absorb more of God’s truth and discover new ways to follow. God is far bigger, greater and more awe inspiring than any of us can imagine.
5. We are looking in the wrong places. How can we looking in the wrong places you might ask when God is everywhere? The trouble is that most of look for God with our heads and not our hearts, with our understanding and not with our imagination, with our reasoning and not our conscience. And we don’t encounter God quickly we get disillusioned and turn our backs.
You cannot meet God face to face and live the Old Testament prophets often proclaimed. God’s greatness passes all comprehension. God’s love and holiness is beyond our imagining. Even a glimpse of who this God really is will have us flat on our faces in awe and repentance.
We must grow like God, become the image of God, be transformed into the people that God intends us to be before we can truly see God and live. Only as we absorb the love of God into the depths of our being and allow the life of God to flow out through every word and action and thought are we able to draw close to the loving eternal God. This obviously is a never ending journey. I hope that you will continue to walk the path with us.