Tuesday, June 25, 2024

A Distant God

And then...life. And transition. And all of a sudden, you don't know if you love God any more. You don't know if He loves you. All of the signs and wonders and assurances that you've grown accustomed to - grown to depend on - have vanished, and the God who was once so near now feels so very far away. 

Because He is. 

The experiences you've had of God have all been dependent upon the places in which you've found Him. So it's only natural that when you come into a new season and find yourself in a new place, you have to discover God all over again. Not because He's really distant, but because the ways in which you've known Him are far removed from your new situation. 

If you were to move to a new town, you could not expect that driving the exact same path from your home - a left turn, two rights, a mile straight down the road and into the parking lot - would get you to the local grocery store in your new town. That would be weird. 

At the same time, you would also never convince yourself that just because the same route doesn't get you there, your new town obviously doesn't even have a grocery store. That would be just plain silly. 

In the same way, we so often move from one season of life and expect to find God exactly where we left Him - a left turn, two rights, a mile straight down the road and there He is. Then, we're surprised to find that that's not where God is any more. That's not how we get to Him from here, not from this new place. 

What's interesting is that most of us will then go through this period of wondering whether God is even here at all, then. No matter how sure we were of taking this step, of making this move, of entering this new season, there comes a moment - usually when we realize that we can't find God the same way we're used to - when we wonder whether God really wanted us to be here at all. 

Was He really calling us to move? Did He really prepare this place for us? Is our faith strong? Did we hear wrong? Maybe we didn't hear at all and just made it up because it's what suited our hearts. 

The questions don't seem to stop. 

We long for a taste of the God that we have known, the One we have loved, the One we were so certain loves us. We ache for the signs and wonders and assurances that brought us this far, just a little one. Just a piece of one. Just a reminder of one. We struggle because He seems so far away, and it doesn't seem like we'll ever find Him again. 

But...we will. 

Because He's not that far away after all. 

He is, as He has always been, right with us. Right here with us. We just have to find the new way. 

And yes, a lot of us are going to step out of our houses and turn left just like we've always done, even for awhile after we've realized God isn't over that way any more. It's just habit. It's just natural. It's just the way we have lived. 

But eventually, we'll remember. We'll take a right. Or maybe even go straight. Wherever He happens to be. And the new route will become the old standard, and it will be just as natural to us as anything ever was. 

We will know, as we have always come to know, that God is in this place, too. He's not so far off as He seems. He's just...different here. 

And that's okay. In fact, it's good. 

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