You and I hear it all the time. “I don’t feel close to God right now.”
It’s clichéd, sure, but, more importantly, I desire for people in (and out) of the church to engage this topic with greater clarity and biblical understanding, rather than raw emotion and feeling.
In order to address this statement, however, we need to get at the core issue. And the issue is a nearness and a connection. It is the issue of what we call “losing touch.” So then, at what point does one truly “lose touch” with another? Or, better phrased, why, or how, do we “lose touch” with God? Since God is a person, we will examine this issue from both a sociological and communicative standpoint.
Connection develops from shared interest, passion, or even geographical placement. In most instances, connection presents itself as an uninvited guest and intrudes without permission. Truly, connection puzzles us. Why this friend, why that girl? Regardless of the conclusions we draw in regards to the origin of connection, we must say this – one rarely, if ever, chooses those who surround him, in the sense of an independent, active, conscious process of decision.
Rather, fancies, impulses, and commonality inform the direction of this selection. From an obvious standpoint, some connections fade into irrelevance as one of both parties undergo inner transformation and see desires and preferences shift. Furthermore, one cannot deny the relational chasm that a geographical impasse sets between two individuals. Such separation will inevitably divide half-hearted and perfunctory relationships with relative ease and brevity. Groups and communities also contribute to the arc of connection. Again, desires and passions serve as powerful players than both distinguish and interlace otherwise autonomous individuals.
Time seems an ineffective method to determine when one “loses touch.” But, because we ask “when?”, inevitably time must enter the conversation. But, faded flames often re-ignite, and the dead chaff of old friendships sprouts into beautiful blossom. So, then, we must conclude that the timing of a sequence of events, namely, geographical influence, the development of personal change, and the growth in a divide between commonality dictates the moment at which one “loses touch,” and the rate at which this process takes place.
One ultimately “loses touch” with another when both parties lose interest in the other, in a previously held common interest, or one develops in a certain direction at such a rate that exceeds the other, and drastic and irreconcilable differences quickly break the bonds of connection. Relationship and connection center around commonality to the degree that most initial conversations aim to identity commonality from the outset. Otherwise, interest drops and conversation breaks down, for connection cannot, and will not, grow from the dead soil of the unrelatable.
Now, we must call to mind two things. First, the steadfast love of the LORD, which Psalm 136 adamantly declares over all situations “endures forever.” Such love cannot, and will not, leave his people. Second, the Holy Spirit, God himself, lives inside of those who call upon Jesus’ name and receive saving faith (Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 3:16). Given the conclusions that I drew from the study of connection, we see that God cannot “be far from me.”
That means that when I feel far from God, I listen to my emotions or live according to circumstances more than I listen to the Gospel. It means that I value my own emotions and circumstances more than what God says to me about himself and his relationship to me. And, lastly, it means that perhaps I do not seek him as I should.
Where there is lack, he will fill it. Where there is need, he will meet it. Where there is emptiness, isolation, and a lack for intimacy, as I often feel in my own life, he is present and dressed for action, ready for you to fall at his feet again.