Why so far away
One of the things I’ve learned over the years as I’ve chased God is that while He often feels distant, there’s a reason for this distance. Yes, when Adam and Eve broke relationship with God it created a spiritual rift between us and our Creator. But when I speak of distance this isn’t what I’m referring to. I’m speaking of the gulf that seems to put God out of our reach when we desire Him most. Why does God often seem so far away?
It's no secret that the world is broken. And when we think about the human race it’s easy to perceive ourselves as victims. We may look at ourselves as victims of Satan’s deception, victims of unforeseen circumstances, victims of tragedy, victims of demonic activity, victims of sin, victims of wars and plagues and the list goes on. But are we? Are we victims?
As a Christian I’m familiar with the concept of us being dead, only being made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5). And while this statement is obviously true, I don’t believe we should perceive ourselves as hapless or even helpless victims. God didn’t make a mistake when He created us. We are more valuable than we know and I personally believe God has more faith in us than we often carry of ourselves. Take this from someone who’s struggled with his own insecurities and failures.
However, one of my favorite verses out of the entire Bible is Jeremiah 12:5. At the time, Jeremiah - known as the weeping prophet - sought God’s righteous judgement to be executed on the Jews due to their wickedness. But God responds to him in a way that is mind-blowingly awesome. The first time I heard this verse many years ago I was awestruck at God’s boldness.
5 “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? - Jeremiah 12:5 (ESV)
I love this verse. In the midst of Jeremiah’s trouble, God doesn’t woo him or deliver words of comfort. No, at least not right away. Instead, God challenges Him. He essentially tells Jeremiah things aren’t even bad for you yet. If you’re already falling apart, what will you do when things get worse? He wants Jeremiah to remember who he is and who he represents - the Creator. God has more faith in Jeremiah than Jeremiah has in himself. Jeremiah is allowing his circumstances to define his identity as God’s child and is lacking faith.
Do you remember Moses and his insecurities? It was God who stiffened his weak spine to stand in front of a Pharaoh. How about Jacob who wrestled with God to become Israel? What of Esther who saved the nation of Israel? Do you remember Noah? Can you imagine your family being the only one alive on the entire planet which is engulfed in water, day and night? How about the disciples who marched into certain death and later, the Apostle Paul?
When God created man He didn’t make a mistake. We are not victims. We are not hapless or helpless individuals. We have a God and our God created us to stand boldly in Him.
In my last edition I slipped you some text from 1 Enoch. And while I know it’s Christian taboo I pray it hasn’t freaked you out despite Jude and Peter both referencing events from 1 Enoch. Here it is again.
5 Therefore have I given them wives also that they might impregnate them, and beget children by them, that thus nothing might be wanting to them on earth. - 1 Enoch 15 4-7
God states that He created humans to be self-sufficient on earth, not in need of anything. God created humanity to not rely on Him as a helicopter parent, running to every knee scrape or bruised elbow with a first aid kit. God has faith in us.
That distance that we may often feel, when God doesn’t burst through the clouds to scoop us up in our most troubling moments, isn’t because God doesn’t hear us or doesn’t care. No. I’ve learned through my own painful moments in life that it is quite the opposite. God desires us to stand up, to be bold, to be courageous and to remember who we are. For how can we compete with horses if men weary us? How can God use us if we rely on Him for every scrape and bruise?
Know that God is far but near. God loves us but doesn’t force us to love Him. God may be silent, but He hears. God may be slow, but He’s always on time. God created us with distance because He has faith in us. Realize that God gave us an entire planet to steward as autonomous beings. That takes a lot of trust. God has faith in His work. And as a child of God, as a work of His hands, you also should have faith in yourself.