Have you ever felt distant from God? I have. I have vacillated between times of intense closeness to God, times of faith with little fervor, and times of feeling removed and disconnected.
When I’ve felt distant I’ve wondered, ‘What is the key to being connected to God? Is it obedience to God’s commands? Is it regular fellowship and accountability with other believers? Is it suffering?’
While all those things can draw us close to God, I have discovered that the fundamental requirement is very simple.
Closeness to God requires that I seek him. That is all. Seeking God means looking to the Lord for all my needs, repenting of sin, and desiring to be close to him.
King Asa provides a vivid example. In his early life, he was faced with a huge battle against the Ethiopian army. With limited resources and no human chance of success, Asa turned to God. He sought God for this huge endeavor because God was his only hope. And God delivered him in a phenomenal way.
But later in his life, Asa became more self-confident. In a much smaller battle, Asa didn’t seek God but sought an alliance with another king instead. He won the battle, but God sent a prophet to rebuke Asa for not seeking God first. Rather than repent, Asa punished the prophet. Several years later, Asa came down with a terrible disease in his feet. Yet he refused to seek the Lord and just sought doctors. And Asa died, without Scripture recording he ever sought God again. (2 Chronicles 14-16).
Asa sought God when his circumstances were overwhelming. That’s exactly when I seek God. When I feel powerless and fearful. When I am suffering and desperate and know nothing can be humanly done. When I realize I can’t fix it myself. I lean on God because there is nothing else to lean on.
But like Asa, in the lesser things of my life, I often don’t call on God. I rely on myself. I think that I can handle it because the problem doesn’t seem overwhelming. I don’t ask God for wisdom because I think I can figure it out with my own resources.
For me, my twenties were characterized by self-sufficiency. Everything was going well and I didn’t think about God very much. I read the Bible occasionally but not regularly, I prayed sporadically but not fervently, and I obeyed God but not wholeheartedly. I trusted myself, relied on my own judgment, managed life as I wanted. View full post »