You have wrapped yourself with a cloud so that
no prayer can pass through. —
Happy Near Year !
God is nearer than you think!
Do you sometimes feel like God is far away?
Do you feel like there is a great distance between you and God? The truth may be that God is nearer than you think . Closer to you than He has ever been. It could be that in your anxiety you have kicked up dust, so much dust that you can’t even see beyond an inch from your face. There was a recent case in Sheppey (Kent) where over 200 people were injured as 130 cars clashed because of the thickness of the fog. It was reported that visibility was only 10-20 yards. And yet drivers on that motorway were driving at full speed. Read the story for yourself on ……
What is Interesting is that we still continue at full speed even though spiritually speaking our visibility may be frosted. We would not dare drive out of our driveway without defrosting and even getting our windows and side mirrors cleared. Despite the spiritual giant she was (few people loved God more than she did) she too experienced spiritual distance from God.
"I call, I cling, I want — and there is no One to answer... Where I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven — there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives & hurt my very soul. — Love — the word — it brings nothing. — I am told God loves me — and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”
These are the words of Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa experienced the same desire as Moses — they both wanted more and more of God.
She was so in love with God that the absence of His actual and immediate presence was insufferable to her. A distance lay between her and God that some may see as closeness. But to a lover, even an inch of distance can seem like an infinite gap. An inch can feel like absence.
The more Mother Teresa loved God, the farther she felt from Him.
There is a great story of what it feels like to be far from God in the life of the prophet Jonah. As she told it, Mother Teresa was on a train when God spoke to her, but Scripture does not reveal what Jonah was doing when God came and audibly spoke to him. We can assume he was going about his normal life. However, this presence of God was far from normal. God revealed the presence of His voice to Jonah.
The prophet was chosen by God to take a message of repentance to the people of Nineveh, who were known for their violence and wickedness. Though a mighty call was now on his life, Jonah was fearful for his own safety and bitter that God would be willing to save such a wicked people. Nineveh, after all, was a horribly violent town — nicknamed "the city of blood.” Jonah wanted nothing to do with this call.
So Jonah did his best to flee from God. He quickly made his way to the sea, where he hired a boat bound in the opposite direction of God’s call. Jonah was now bound for a port city called Tarshish. He thought that putting distance between himself and the location where God showed up would put distance between his responsibility and the command of the Lord. Jonah was not only trying to escape the presence of God. He was trying to flee from the will of God. The presence and will of God are inescapable. This was Jonah’s first lesson regarding the presence and absence of God: we don’t get to decide when God is absent and when He is present. Only God can do that. We can stop going to church, attending bible studies, going to Christian events and meetings and think that we are putting a distance between us and God. In that sense, we are no different from Jonah. God so loved this world that He still wants the world saved. But more and more people are running in the opposite direction of church and the gathering of God’s people. God’s people. When Jonah tried to run away from the location of God’s presence, he found his escape attempt as futile as trying to outrun the air.
You may think that you have put too much distance between yourself and God over the years, but that is impossible. There is nowhere you can flee where God is not already present. See Psalm 139:7-12.
Neither the presence nor the command of God can be escaped by any swiftness of the legs, any distance of the sea, or in any depth of the earth. When God sets His choice upon an individual, His chase is fiercer than any gale. Like a seasoned hunting dog after its prey, when the scent of our souls is placed in his nostrils, no escape can prove successful.
My prayer for you is that instead of attempting to run from His presence , you will run to Him. Instead of kicking up and covering yourself in the spiritual fog of your stroppiness, you will be still and know that He is God! As David says in the Psalms …”As for God, His ways are perfect”. As winter gives way to Spring and much later summer, there is a song that will be sung across all the Christians camps that goes like this…
I LAY MY LIFE DOWN AT YOUR FEET,
You’re the only One I need.
I turn to You and You are always there.
In troubled times it’s You I seek,
I put You first, that’s all I need.
I humble all I am, all to You.
One way, Jesus;
You’re the only One that I could live for.
One way, Jesus;
You’re the only One that I could live for.
You are always, always there,
Every how and everywhere;
Your grace abounds so deeply within me.
You will never, ever change;
Yesterday, today the same,
Forever, till forever meets no end.
You are the way, the truth and the life:
We live by faith and not by sight for You,
We’re living all for You.
This is a song that Joshua and Andrew stomp to on their way to School. The words are very mature for a song that is catchy and lively. They are words that every Christian ought to be able to tick every line to be able to say that they are ready for the rapture-the second coming of the Lord Jesus may well not be that far away. My prayer is that you & I will be ready for the rapture whether we feel His presence today or not and get on with the call to go and make disciples of all nations.
Blessings from Pastor Sam, Heather, Joshua & Andrew.