I’ve had a few scary moments in my life where I came close to drowning.
One time I was swimming on vacation in Maui. I looked into the deep, crystal blue ocean and saw an enormous Stingray. I decided to follow it (this was before I knew they could hurt people). When it swam out of view, I looked up and saw waves crashing fiercely against the black pointy rocks. I could no longer see the sandy shore of safety.
I drifted away without even realizing it.
Without a life-vest, I began to swim for dear life. I set a visual marker as a goal but every time I looked up the current brought me back to where I began. Slowly my exertion propelled me one stroke forward and two strokes back.
I’ll never forget the relief I felt when I made it to shore, huffing and puffing from shear exhaustion.
Suddenly, God feels distant and out of reach? It feels hard to get to Him. Life becomes a ritual of daily tasks and you’ve lost the joy of the Lord?
Thinking back on that frightening incident, I’m reminded how easily I take my focus off the Lord and allow the things of the world to slowly pull me away. And it’s not that God ever left me. It’s that I was following something else and allowing other things (even good pursuits) to be more important than seeking Him.
I remember my childhood anticipation of attending church on Easter Sunday and wearing my new fancy Spring dress. After church we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s and opened baskets filled with our favorite items.
My aunts and uncles hid Easter eggs and reminded us not to peek. But once the doors flung open and the hunt began, I panicked as I watched my older sister fill her bucket with eggs while my bucket was empty. My uncle would coach me “Getting hot, hotter, cold” eventually pointing at the egg that I seemed to miss.
I see that eager competition in the eyes of my children now as they recklessly rush to find Easter eggs, perhaps afraid they’ll end up with an empty basket.
It brings me back to that feeling I sometimes get as if God is hard to find and difficult to get close to—the times when God seems silent.
What do we do when we feel distant from God?
The answer is summed up in just one word. Seek.
We seek Him.
And those who seek me find me. Proverbs 8:17
He’s not hiding from us.
He’s not ignoring us.
He’s not out of reach.
I think we just want Him to make the first move and we don’t realize that He already did.
He did make the first move!
God became flesh and suffered and died on the cross to show us that His love is real.
When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He left the gift of His Holy Spirit to live inside of us and be present with us every single minute of every single day so we wouldn’t be alone. And yet we think He left us?
Jeremiah 29:13 is one of my favorite verses.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.
I keep this bookmark in my Bible as a reminder that when I open His Word to seek Him, I will find Him.
There are many verses that reassure us that when we look for Jesus, He will be there for us:
Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on Him while He is near.
Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
If you seek Him, He will be found.
I Chronicles 28:9
I sought the Lord and He answered me.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
I know sometimes we’re hurting and we just want Jesus to scoop us up in His loving arms. There are times in our suffering where God does make His presence evident to our hearts in real ways that only we could understand.
And other times when our hearts feel dry. He wants us to seek Him. To pray. To sneak away with Him and open His Word. To put praise music on. To worship him. To confess our sins. To repent. To love others. To give. To serve. To fellowship. To forgive. To surrender. To rejoice.
Do you feel distant from the Lord? If you do, I pray that you will seek the Lord with all of your heart because He wants you to know Him.
I would love for you to share in the comment section about a time when you sought the Lord and found Him.
Forgive me for allowing myself to drift away from you. Lord, I’m thirsty for you now. I need you. I draw close to you and pray that you would draw close to me. Forgive me for my pride and selfishness. Forgive me for doubting your love for me. You have always been here right by my side. You never leave me. You never forsake me. You will always be found. My search never leaves me empty but instead fills me to the brim with eternal hope. Fill me with contagious joy, Lord! I celebrate the gift of my salvation and the forgiveness of my sins.
I’ve provided a copy of Jeremiah 29:13 for you to keep in your Bible. I printed mine off on glossy photo paper. I also love that it’s a large bookmark that’s easy to find and doesn’t get lost in my big Bible!