Have you ever felt like God was far away? I think it’s fair to say that virtually every follower of Jesus has felt that way at some point in his or her walk with the Lord. Some might even have felt God to be so distant as to wonder whether or not they have lost their salvation.
If you’ve ever felt that way, how secure did you feel in your relationship with God?
Think about it: if ever there was a time in your childhood when you felt like the love of your parents was conditional, whether you consciously realized it or not, you probably walked on pins and needles in that relationship, because somehow, it lacked safety. Parent-child relationships are, after all, supposed to be unconditional in love. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe my parents loved me unconditionally – even though during the odd spanking I might have begun to doubt it. No, even if they were angry with me, or disappointed in something I did, love was always there.
Don’t you think that if human parents can pull off unconditional love for their kids that our heavenly Father can and does love his children unconditionally?
In the Reformed tradition of which I’m a part, one of the hallmark doctrines is our belief in the “perseverance of the saints”. What this means, briefly, is that once we realize that God has chosen us to be his, that state of ‘chosenness’ cannot be revoked. Once we are saved, we are forever saved. This often causes questions, and I’ll be expanding quite a bit on this during worship at St. Paul’s Church, Nobleton this Sunday morning. (Hope to see you at 10 that morning! If you can’t come, check out my blog to listen to the message, or come at 7:00 p.m. next Thursday to our cottagers’ service.)
I take great comfort in knowing that once Jesus has saved me, he will never let go of me. No matter how badly I mess up, God, in his faithfulness and justice, will forgive me and cleanse me once again (1 John 1.9). I remember as a child, once in a while, sleeping on the floor outside my bedroom because, curiously, I didn’t believe I deserved a bed or a bedroom. I got over this pretty quickly anytime it happened, but the issue was always with me, not with my parents, and not with God. Sometimes we don’t feel very saved, we don’t feel very Christian. That’s when faith has to take over. We can name this and claim this, as it were, that “nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8.39b, NLT).
Make no mistake: if we feel like God is distant, it is not God who moved. And the best remedy for sensing God’s nearness once again is to spend time in his Word! Read the Bible, and let God speak to you. Respond in love and in faith. His nearness will become apparent once again, for God is always as close as the mention of his name.
May you know God’s nearness this weekend, and always!