How real is God in your life? How real is His presence? How real is His guidance?
I don’t know about you folks but I always seem to want more. More of His presence, more of His guidance, more of Him in me than there is of me in me.
I know some of the things that I can do that can provide some of that “oneness” or “nearness” that I crave. I can spend time each day with God in prayer, honest prayer, heartfelt prayer. I can spend time in His Word, allowing His Word to take root in me, to feed me, sustain me. I can also be aware of the leading of God’s Holy Spirit within me, knowing when He speaks, hearing when He speaks, asking me to do or consider something or say something. Sometimes following the leading of the Holy Spirit is easy and sometimes it is difficult. It’s amazing the confidence one can feel when you know that you are to show concern for someone or speak a word of encouragement to someone through the leading of the Holy Spirit. I wish that happened more often but God is the author of the Holy Spirit’s leading, He decides when and what and where and to whom. And sometimes we speak just because we know we are to voice God’s grace to others in the same manner in which we have received. I’m also pretty sure that I’m not always open to His leading, being hindered by distractions around and within me, pertaining to the material realm.
I don’t like the distance or the silence that I often feel between myself and God. But I’ve also learned from experience there is a difference between God being distant and God being distant. Many years ago I complained to God about how distant He had become to me. Even though God felt distant, I still knew He was there. And then, for a whole week, it was as if God showed me the difference between Him being distant and Him being distant. It was a terrible week, a week I never want to repeat again. It was like He was totally gone, non-existent, total nothingness. Trust me, I was glad when the normal distant returned. I’ve only experienced real deep depression once in my life, and that was only for one day, for a few hours, but that emptiness and the voidness was very similar to what that one week felt like and it was not something that anyone would want to experience. Sometimes we need a reference point, something to compare the norm with, so that we can appreciate the norm and not take it for granted. I’m pretty sure that God in His wisdom did that for me.
I’ve never complained to God in that particular way again, but I have expressed to Him numerous times how I need to have a refreshing of His presence. It’s not easy walking and living in this material world and being mindful of the spiritual reality at the same time, because of how sensitive we are to the material reality and how we need to be in tune, so to speak, with the spiritual reality. Sometimes the beauty and magnificence of the material world, ushers us into the appreciation of the spiritual reality. And here’s also when praying and studying God’s Word comes into play, because these are a couple of the means by which God brings us into the awareness of His spiritual reality. Sometimes in worship God will open our awareness to His glory and the wonder that He is and that also is a beautiful thing.
The stretching of our faith is one of the things that God is continually doing with all of us. Teaching us to trust Him more, depend on Him more, rest in Him more. This also doesn’t come easy, it is, from my experience, a reality that grows over time. We’ve all had those lightbulb moments where God has directly intervened to save us from harm, lead us away or towards something or touch our lives at a critical moment. These “lightbulb” moments are similar to the telephone poles we sometimes see stretched out along the roadways. These special moments are indeed spaced out, distant from one another, on the road that we all travel. But the path we normally walk is barren of signs, markers or poles and we primarily travel in a given direction, dependent upon that which we have previously been given directions for or signs that we have previously seen. I’m thinking that God does the same thing with our faith, stretching the distance out between these little signs we infrequently experience, so that we become confident in Him rather than the signs.
Have you ever tried to picture Jesus? Have you ever imagined yourself there beside Him so that you could reach out and touch Him or fall on your knees before Him? I have, many times. Who wouldn’t want that? Yet Jesus tells us that we are blessed because we believe and we haven’t seen Him (John 20:29). Jesus obviously knows better than me but at this point in time (which I suspect is the critical element), I would have a tendency to disagree with Him. But He is our shepherd, He does know much much more than me, so I have to believe Him and have faith in His wisdom here too. That also can be hard.
But one glorious day I will see Him face to face and His Word tells me that I will be satisfied (Psalm 17:15). And I believe that too.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!