I love this line from author Alicia Britt Chole: “God was not absent. The challenge was self was so very present.” I cannot count the times I’ve heard people say (and okay, I’m in this group as well), “I feel like God is so far away”. God is never far away. He is always here. Wherever ‘here’ is, God is there. You cannot outrun God, so don’t bother trying to run away. Despite all our ingenuity and technological innovations, we cannot hide from God. God is never far.
We couldn’t push Him away if we tried. His Spirit guarantees His presence with us always. The problem is not His presence, the issue is we have allowed our selfishness and pride to subtly erode our awareness of Him. To put it bluntly, we can’t get out of our own way to see God is not absent.
I’ve experienced periods where my prayers seem to be bouncing off the ceiling. Sometimes I feel I’ve lost my connection to God. Thankfully, these periods are few and far between for me. Even in these times, God is not absent. He hasn’t gone anywhere. I believe Mrs. Chole hits the nail on the head with her assertation ourselves are too present. We’ve crowded God out of hearts and allowed the self to become all we see. As a rule, human beings are an incredibly self-centered lot. I have not been spared this disease. We have the horrible tendency to make everything about us. We’re so busy focused on ourselves we probably wouldn’t notice if God did leave the building. Perhaps it’s why we think He has until when we come to our senses – or more likely, get into a jam we can’t handle.
God is not absent. He is there. He is available. We’ve simply got to get out of the way. We’ve got to make far less of ourselves and much more of Him. Life is about Jesus. He created the world. He sustains the world. He sacrificed Himself to save the world. And He is coming back to redeem all of creation once and for all. There is no part of the past, present, or future that hasn’t been about Jesus. Yet we have the audacity to make this moment about ourselves. It’s ridiculous. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The absurdity of it is beyond reason.
The only way I know to keep the self from growing larger than life is to crucify it on the cross of Jesus. It’s the example He set, and the command He gave (Luke 9:23-27). Again, it’s all about Jesus. He has provided the solution to every need we have. If not for God’s presence this very second, the natural result of evil and sin would decimate the earth and every living thing on it. It is only God’s sovereign hand keeping such chaos at bay. No, God is not absent. The fact you are still alive and breathing is all the proof you need. He will never leave us. We’ve just got to get out of the way. We’ve got to crucify our selfish desires and commit our lives to Him. It’s how we stay in tune and aware of the unrelenting, never-ending presence of God.