My relationship with God has been marked by times of intimacy and times of distance, times of clarity and times of obscurity. And I’ve found that whether He’s near or far has little to do with how or what I’m doing.
He speaks to me when He speaks to me, and He stays silent when He stays silent, with no apologies or explanations, with little regard for my state of mind or degree of struggle.
I have learned not to look for anything I can do to draw Him to me. I can pray. I can worship. I can listen. Other than that, my only recourse is to trust Him. He is sovereign. He does what He does. He is who He is. I know He will always keep His word. I know that He works all things together for good.
In recent years, I have discovered that proximity to Him has nothing to do with how I feel or what I seem to be experiencing. The only measure of closeness that I now trust is the degree of longing I have for more of Him.
Put simply, the closer I am to Him, the more intensely I want Him. And the more intensely I want Him, the less anything else matters. In the end, nothing remains but to love Him, and to love what He loves. Prayer becomes a deep rest where love defies words, allowing only silence.
I have by no means arrived. I have a long, long way to go. I can say that I no longer care whether or not I “feel His presence” or “hear His voice”. These may come and go, and I’ll thank Him for them when they come, but all I want is to love Him more. I want to be dissatisfied, to long for Him to the point of agony. Anything less is less than I can have of Him.
Lord, bring the silence! Bring the longing! I lay down everything else you’ve given me, the gifts, the sound of Your voice, the feeling of Your presence, and I ask you to replace them with Your love.
- January 20, 2004