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of distance and pain

There are times – all too often lately – when God seems very far away.  I’m theologically grounded enough to understand this is a feeling and not a truth, yet I’m still sinfully prideful enough to put the blame for this seeming distance on Him instead of me.  Funny, isn’t it?  I usually say, or hear people say, that “God seems far away.”  The subtle implication being that I’m right where I’ve been, I’m where I should be, but He is distant.  And,really… how could He do that to me?

The truth is that I take my focus off of Him and put it where it shouldn’t be: on my sin, the sins of others against me, the consequences of all that sin, the mess it all has made… I recall a man sinking after a rather astonishing walk and realize we have a lot in common, he and I.  It’s so easy to lose focus, to lose true perspective.

I confess, I prefer pain as an intellectual exercise.  I exult in the call to suffer alongside Christ and in His name, but I would really prefer to avoid the actual pain, if at all possible.  As I considered all this, and worked through repenting (an ongoing process if ever there was one – never buy the lie that repentance is in the past tense), the Holy Spirit brought to mind a wonderful quote from C. S. Lewis:

“He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” –The Screwtape Letters

Ah, that I could walk confidently in the darkness.  Lord, hear my cry, and remember your rebellious servant.

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