Is God Watching From a Distance?

In church, I sang the words “Our God is greater, our God is stronger,” without conviction.

If God were greater and stronger than any other, wouldn’t I see more victory in Christian lives?

More joy, more answered prayer?

Perhaps Bette Midler’s lyrics are right. Perhaps “God is watching us from a distance.” 

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Because when I’m watching someone from a distance…and I see people in the news fleeing from persecution or weeping after a natural disaster….

I empathize, but I don’t feel their pain.

Not like I do in person. Otherwise, I’d be compelled to act more often. Pray. Donate money. Assist them.

Which is why I sometimes feel like God is watching from a distance. Lord, can you see me from up there? Listen to me. Do something now!

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I tried to ignore Satan’s insinuation that God was far away. But my problems took centerstage on the altar instead of the Cross.

“Lord, I know worship is about you, but if I could taste victory in this particular area then I’d be able to praise you. Experience joy again.”

During the next song, I closed my eyes to meditate on the Lord’s faithfulness in my life. I wanted to praise Him in the storm instead of waiting for the clouds to pass.

Perhaps I’d been watching God from a distance.

Giving Him my daily, one-way dictation. Telling God what He should do to make life better. Problems solved. Joy regained. Make it snappy.

Rather than be still in God’s presence for Him alone. Obeying His Word because I love Him.

“Lord, I’ve spent too much time looking at Me and Mine this past week. Forgive me. Only You can satisfy my heart. I know this because I’ve experienced the…

  • Joy of Your presence. 
  • Joy not based on answered prayer. 
  • Joy of Your salvation.

Weight lifted from my shoulders when I agreed to stop fixing everyone’s problems, and fix my eyes back on the Lord. 

Trusting Him to work out everything for good in my life and theirs. (Romans 8:28, 29)

God watches His children, but He is fully present. For His Spirit dwells within each believer.

God not only sees our felt needs, He knows our true needs which includes our never-ending need to abide (or remain) in Christ. (John 15) To illustrate abiding, Jesus used the visual of a branch attached to a vine in order to bear fruit.

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 Abiding in Christ means it’s possible to have an ever-present relationship with the Almighty God. Some of that fruit is joy.

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11)

Joyful, even in this…

Moment when God may seem far away and slow to the rescue.

Not What but WHO

The house is robed in darkness when I slip away from the warmth of my bed and my slumbering husband. I’d rather brew a cup of tea and pray than toss and turn.

I weave my way through the dark and around the furniture until I find the kitchen light. While tea leaves steep, I notice my hungry cat waiting at the back door.

Open a can of food for her, open the Bible for me.

I’m not a morning person, but I love the silence where God is able to speak without interruptions.

If only I can keep my mind from distractions. My year that began slow has picked up speed. The winds are changing.

I tell myself “rejoice in the Lord” because my joy is not based on What is happening in my life, but WHO is ever present.  

El Roi, the God who sees me, even in the dark while I sip tea.

How odd…or is it…that I open my Bible to Psalm 143 where my words were once scrawled in the margin: February 2001: anxiety attack and winter depression.

What happened long ago that caused me to underline emotions that King David experienced: “persecuted, crushed, overwhelmed.”

I can’t remember why those emotions held me hostage, but the solution remains underlined.

“I meditate on all Thy doings; I muse on the work of Thy hands. I stretch out my hands to Thee; my soul longs for Thee as a parched land.” (verses 5,6)

On that winter morning, I lived in dark places. (vs.3)

But I knew then…as I know now…the ONE True God who could and would …

·        Revive me.

·        Teach me.

·        Deliver me.

And bring my soul out of trouble.

Even now, as I write these words, night has slipped away. Daylight is here. And on my window sill, a cross with the words from Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you…to give you hope and a future.”    

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If anxious thoughts woke me, they are gone.  Not because my circumstances changed, or God fixed my problems overnight.

My soul is at rest because the Lord is my hope and refuge.

And He never changes…not even in this.