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When God Feels Far Away…

I talk to many people who feel like God is far away.  A question I try to ask is, “Who moved?”

Paul says in Acts 17:27 that God, our Father, is not far from any of us and that his desire is that we reach out to him and find Him.  In James 4:8, James says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”

Paul and James are saying that whenever there is distance between us and God it is not God who has moved away but we have.   We end up wanting the world rather than God.  We end up prioritizing our pleasure, comfort, plans, and business and in doing so we drift away from him.  We come to him when we need him, but then we walk away when things are good.  Our relationship with God is just that, a relationship.  It needs to be worked on. It needs regular attention or we grow distant and our relationship breaks down.  If I only talked or spent time with my parents or my wife when I needed something our relationship would suffer and, in reality,there wouldn’t even be much of a relationship there.  Then when we come to him we are full of doubts because we’ve forgotten who He is,  We’ve forgotten his character and love.  We’ve forgotten how good he is and how he works all things for our good. God wants so much more for us.

God is the good Father from the story of the Prodigal Son.  We all have run away at some point.  We all have wanted the world.  We all have just wanted to run with our inheritance and live however we’d like outside of our Father’s house and rules.  Yet God is not far from us and He desires that we reach out to Him and come home.  We cause the distance.  We walk away. Yet God is the perfect Father who always wants his little boys and girls to come home.  He is just waiting for us to return so that we can have a full relationship with Him again. In fact, the story of the prodigal son is imperfect compared to the real story of us and God. In the real story, the Father sent His good Son, Jesus, to pay our debt, to share His inheritance so we could replace the one we lost, and to bring us home, back in the family, back to the loving arms of the Father.  When we come home, the Father runs to us, wraps His arms around us, calls us His children once more, and treats us as if we never left.

God isn’t far from you. He is near.  He’s right there.  Perhaps He’s even allowed you to see the distance you’ve walked away in life so you’d run home to Him.  He loves you so much he gave his Son, knowing that he’d suffer and die while rescuing you.  If He’s done that, he certainly won’t write you off.  He’ll certainly be with you as you return to him.  He’ll certainly run to you, embrace you, and treat you as if you had never left.

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