One of the most difficult aspects of faith that can entangle the heart of a Christian is Gods closeness. We all want to “feel” close to God, but in all honesty on many occasions God seems distant and unresponsive. We ask God, “have I done something wrong? Why are you not listening to me? Why are you not speaking?” Oddly enough many will ask this question when they already have a bible near them that is full of the words of God.
Gods closeness does not depend on an audible voice or a physical manifestation. Theophany would be great, an encounter with a burning bush or a cloud that can talk would not leave any room to doubt Gods closeness, but sometimes, God whispers quietly into our ear… we just need to still ourself to hear his voice. Yet in this crazy and busy world, it’s hard to settle down and hear his voice. Yet does Gods closeness only depend on the ability to hear him when he speaks?
God is omnipresent, so he is everywhere all at once! However, God can manifest His presence visually or through an emotional connection. Gods “peace” that transcends all understanding is one way to describe His closeness because His peace is different to the worlds. The world offers peace externally but God offers peace internally. The peace God offers is stable through all circumstances because it depends solely on Him and not on the world around you. This means you could be facing some crazy situation (like a natural disaster or an encounter with an armed robber) yet still have perfect peace because you have faith in Gods supreme power.
What about the persecuted? We hear all the time about Gods closeness and how he can protect his children, so has he failed with persecuted church? Miracles are told about Gods deliverance and yet many grieve for the loss of a loved one. Has God abandoned the ones that were not protected from death?
The answer to the question depends on our view of persecution. Jesus said “blessed are you when you are persecuted for my names sake” (Matthew 5:11). Those who die for the Lord die in the Lord, this means the next thing they will see is the face of God! They cannot possibly get any closer than that. Those who are killed for the faith they have (and yes the loss on earth is still tragic) receive the greatest blessing anyone could ever ask for. For them, they are immediately ushered into Gods physical presence where they will remain for all eternity! For those who grieve, God will also be close to them through his comfort and peace (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Gods closeness transcends human understanding because we have learned to to understand closeness as something to be felt. Yet our faith in God being near is the wellspring of peace that fills up our hearts and souls. It is unexplainable without faith, it also would not make any sense. Some would say how can God be close without being seen, felt or heard? Yet elements of creation are exactly that! Oxygen is close to everyone us, we do not hear it, feel it or see it yet we breathe it in for our survival! Yet, oxygen atoms can be seen under an electron microscope.
God is near to you today! Whether you feel like He is or not, God is near. You may be able to spend some time in worship and prayer and sense his presence growing. You may be able to stare at creation and feel a sense of awe and wonder burning deep within you. You may be suffering a loss of a loved one or your job and yet sense a peace and calmness about what’s happening. You can only sum up all of this with one sentence… God is near.
God has not abandoned humanity as some may suppose. However, when governments around the world and societies are kicking God out, God is respecting this decision. It does not mean He is not around and cannot see what is happening, it just means God is allowing humanity to live without him, so that they can see that just like oxygen, they really do need God. Yet, anyone who calls upon the Lord by faith, God will draw near to them.
If humanity was abandoned then the cross would have been avoided.
However you feel today, know that God understands your pain and situation. Jesus can empathize perfectly with you because he too suffered trials and tribulatuon. Today, know that God is near! Nothing can change that, for he is always with us… even to the end of age! (Matthew 28:20)
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Father God, thank you that you are an ever present help in times of trouble. Thabk you that when I simply just acknowledge you, I am acknowledging your awesome presence. Help me draw near to you every day and live every day knowing that you are near to me. All praise and glory be to you. In Jesus Christ name amen.
Love and God bless