Does it feel like the Lord is near to you? Do you feel like you can cry out to Him with the deepest longings, secret hopes, and unspoken sorrows buried within your heart?
Does it feel like God is watching you from afar, neglecting to hear your cry for help? Maybe you feel abandoned by God, as your circumstances rest heavily upon your shoulders.
No matter where you find yourself right now, the reality is that there are times in our lives when we question the nearness of God. We all wonder whether His promises apply to us, particularly when we are in the middle of a trial.
I certainly have had my fair share of hard days, even years, wondering if God cared for me anymore. A counselor once told me I could write a book about the impact of trauma, abuse, and loss based on my experiences alone, and I told him, “No thanks, I’d rather write another story with a happy ending.” At the time, I didn’t have hope for God’s redemptive work. I was still looking for perfection on this side of heaven, earned from good behavior and whatever kind of fairy dust might land on me.
Well, a decade later, I’ve learned that hard doesn’t mean God’s abandonment or neglect or punishment. Hard defines life on earth, where suffering is humanity’s reality. As Christ followers, it’s a given not an exception (1 Peter 3:14-22 CSB).
There’s not a suffering quota we get to meet and then move on.
So what are we to do when we question God’s nearness and promises in the middle of all the hard? The answer might seem too trite, but I believe we should do the opposite of what we feel. Instead of pulling away, we need to look closer with a prayerful heart seeking God’s presence.
God’s silence is not evidence of His absence but rather an invitation to lean into His indefinable presence.
In order to respond to this invitation for nearness, we have to refocus and reprioritize what we need and where we’re looking. It requires a shift in our expectations and a willingness to see differently.
Rather than seeking gifts, we seek out the Giver. We let go of the solution while embracing our Savior. We embrace the healing by holding onto the hands of the Healer.
And when it’s too hard to do this by ourselves, we need to ask for help from someone who can lean into the Lord with us, whether that is a godly friend, mentor, counselor, or coach. Yes, at the moments when it feels like God is far away, clinging to His promises in the support of community will bring us nearer to Him.
Dear Lord, thank You for being near to me. God, thank you that when I call upon You, You hear me. Please help me wait on You and trust You even when Your answer may not be what I wanted or felt I needed. Cause me to trust You more, Lord, and be willing to draw nearer to You, both when things are hard and when life is good
In Jesus’ Name,
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