Close But Not Close Enough

presence

This is not going to be a pat me on the back post. Sometimes when I write these posts I am actually speaking to myself, making myself mindful of things that I have learned, am learning or in some cases, things that I have neglected.

Many years ago I complained to God on how distant He was. And at that time, I wasn’t anywhere near to Him as I am today. But God in His wisdom decided to teach me a lesson back then that I have never forgotten.

He didn’t respond with any words to my complaint but He gave me an experience that is forever burned into my mind and heart. It’s almost like he did say “You think I am distant from you, I will show you what being distant feels like.”

And for one whole week it was like the connection was totally broken. Nothing, absolutely nothing, total void, a loss of my awareness of Him that I have never ever again experienced. It was terrible. I never want to experience that again. And when it was lifted, I apologized and the normal “at oneness” returned, It wasn’t that I felt His presence to any great degree, it was just the normal day to day, He’s there, I’m here feeling. The lesson that He wanted me to understand is that there are different levels of separation or feeling distant from Him. I never understood that before, I do now.

A few days ago I wrote a post on how close God’s presence was just before I was going to bed for the evening. That was a gift, it doesn’t happen on a day to day basis. It’s not my norm. However, there is a “oneness” that is constant, that I’ve learned to identify and value, to not take for granted. I’ve mentioned before how that many Christians advocate that we are to base our faith on God’s Word and not our “experience”. I understand that, matter of fact, the Scriptures that God brings to my mind at various times are indeed what keeps me in step with the faith or trust that I have in Jesus. The “Scriptures” are part of the means by which my oneness with God is maintained. But I, like many, also have a need to instinctively know inside that I am His and He is mine.

I’ve also mentioned about how there is a close correlation with the amount of time that I spend in God’s Word and also in prayer, with the degree of “oneness” that I have with Him. The more time I spend in His Word and the more time I spend in sincere heartfelt prayer, the closer I feel to Him. It’s just the way that it is.

There are different kinds of prayer. There is the daily prayer we have wherein we praise Him and lift up our family members, fellow Christian brothers and sisters that we know and also those within the body of Christ throughout the world that we do not know. This daily prayer also usually includes identifying my need for Him to live in me and for me to live in Him and my dependency upon Him plus anything else that may be on my mind at the time.

There are also impromptu prayers where we shot off a quick request when we see something or become aware of something that we need God’s help with. Sometimes these impromptu prayers also include simple praise when we become aware of something and we want to express our thanks or just praise God for being who He is.

There are also “praying in the Spirit” prayers where God’s Holy Spirit provides the words which I don’t normally understand. Sometimes He gives me a sense of what is being prayed for but most times I do not understand what is being spoken. Praying in the Spirit can be done anywhere at anytime. Usually I use this option when God’s Holy Spirit within me makes me mindful that this means is available. I don’t employ this type of prayer on a day to day basis.

And finally there is that heartfelt fervent prayer where you know you need to be in His presence and you know that you need to be absolutely real with Him, brutally real where every sin that you can think of is laid before Him. For me, this is the best prayer. Sometimes I am just silent and just kneel before Him. Sometimes I just let everything that He brings to my mind and heart to Him and I follow His lead. I always feel better after this type of prayer and I am coming to understand that this type of prayer should be a daily prayer. Unfortunately that awareness is not something that I always act on.

When I read God’s Word, His Word takes me below the surface sin, where motives and truth are laid bare and the difference between His ways and my ways becomes more self evident. Just about every word that Jesus spoke does this. That reality alone should make all of us aware of how “special” He was and is. A lot of times I pray as God’s Word makes me aware of an aspect of myself that I haven’t really looked at enough. One verse that I am continually reminded of is where Jesus says that without Him we can do nothing. Our dependency on Him is absolute, we’re not talking about degrees here. He means exactly what He says, we literally need Him living in us to accomplish His and our Father’s will in all that we do.

I called this post “Close But Not Close Enough”. There’s always more of God available, we haven’t even scratched the surface of who He is. I don’t think we’ll ever truly understand or experience this until we see Him face to face. God’s Word says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Now all we have to do is consistently do it.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

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About

Disciple of Jesus, married to Peggy, with 5 grown up children, 6 grand children, ex-Canadian military and residing in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. "Papa"

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Posted in Apologetics, Defending Christianity, Faith
5 comments on “Close But Not Close Enough
  1. Pete says:

    I love your honesty and humility expressed here. The time you felt so distant from God must have been difficult. As I was reading it, I thought of Psalm 13 right away. Funny how the psalms come to mind whether we are struggling or filled with praise! Those writings are so inspiring.

    I am so glad also that He drew you close and continues to hold you close. I agree that we all can draw closer – and He so wants us to. Through reading His word, praise and prayer we draw near to Him all the time.

    One of my favorite choruses goes like this:

    Draw me close to you
    Never let me go
    I lay it all down again
    To hear you say that I’m your friend
    You are my desire
    No one else will do
    ‘Cause nothing else can take your place
    To feel the warmth of your embrace
    Help me find the way
    Bring me back to you

    You’re all I want
    You’re all I’ve ever needed
    You’re all I want
    Help me know you are near

    Be blessed

  2. Elder Steve says:

    Loved this! I realize that when I went through a really, what I called “dark” time, I think must have been God getting my attention like when He withdrew from you. I was at a very lonely time and I was seeking Him with all I had but felt nothing. It actually drew me closer and made me long for Him more.
    Thanks for sharing and being transparent. Blessings!

  3. Scott says:

    Two things I like. How scripture gives us grace to pray. Also I appreciate what you said about the everyday knowing Jesus is there. I must confess I realize He is there more on some days and less on others. I think for me sticking to Him and not so much what I think His doctrines are helps. That is not to say I would ever deny Jesus is God and man. But I might eat the bread that we are going to use for communion if everyone is really starving.

  4. It is so encouraging to hear about the way you commune with Abba! I think many have not thought of the variety of options in communication that we have, much less understand how to practically incoporate those into their day-to-day lives!! Thank you for reminding us not to take for granted God’s presence!! This is a beautiful and practical post about prayer, which is, in fact, as you so well demonstrate, simply communion with God. Thank you, my wise and godly brother!! Such wonderful encouragement in your words!!

  5. We haven’t even scratched the surface. That just about says it all Bruce!!

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