[This is a blog post I wrote back in August 2015 on a different site, but it still has so much relevance now, and I thought it was worth re-posting, so enjoy!]
It seems that time and time again in my Christian journey, I keep hitting walls in my intimacy with God.
Several days ago, it occurred to me that while I had grown in my understanding of the Christian faith, it had been years since I experienced a renewal in just that part of my life: faith.
It was like my heart all of a sudden realized that it held a lot of empty space, and all the discontinuity I had felt between when I first fell in love with God to the present time all of a sudden became more concrete than just uncomfortable emotions. I remember that moment, I’m not sure where I was, but I remember, I quietly whispered to God one of the most honest prayers I have ever prayed.
“We’re not as close as we used to be.”
Maybe you’ve felt that same emptiness. I don’t speak as one who has any answer, but I will tell you what God did.
It seems like whenever there is potential for me to grow deeper in my connection with God, my mind reflexively does some things like this:
- I question myself, “aren’t you just looking to feel a certain way?”
- A bunch of conflicting thoughts come into my mind, all hinting at one message: “it’s impossible.”
- I’m hesitant because I feel like God’s going to ask me to do something, and I’ll fail him.
- I get confused. I’m not sure how God feels about me, and I’m afraid that he’s going to keep his distance.
(And at this point, I am getting uncomfortable… Not sure how much I want to let you know how much goes on in this heart of mine, but I sense He wants me to press on, so on we go!)
Anyhow, I realized that an enormous change happened when God spoke to me, in the voice I knew so deeply and had grown to love. He called me, just like in Psalm 27:8
“You have said, ‘Seek my face.’
My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek.'”
Now, I love this psalm, because it is the song of a believer who has resolved to seek God as his “One Thing.” This also means that his heart is letting go of seeking of everything else. I can really relate to the verses that surround this dialogue.
“Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the LORD will take me in.
As I read it, the psalmist is on the edge of panic. If God doesn’t hear him, no one will. This is the side of devotion that rarely gets talked about. Soren Kierkegaard allegedly pointed out that “As long as there are many springs from which to draw water, anxiety about possible water failure does not arise.”
When we realize that all of our meaning, joy, love and life depend on God alone, all of our doubts will soon come rushing for a hearing! This is the perfect opportunity for Satan to come and steal us away from heartfelt prayer and worship. The question is, will we embrace the risk, or run from it.
God understands this better than anyone. Imagine for a second the prayers that he hears even in the course of one of our earthly days… do you really think that your fears and anxieties surprise him?
So the Psalmist pants and exclaims: “God, please hear me! I’m crying! Be gracious, please, and answer!”
All of a sudden the Holy Spirit either speaks right then and there to him, or brings to mind a word he spoke to David in the past… “Seek my face.” Is there any other invitation so mixed with joy and danger?
The psalmist feels his heart respond to the invitation–“Your face, Lord do I seek.”
A paraphrase of the following passages could go something like this: “So, don’t hide yourself from me. Please don’t turn me away because you’re angry at me. O, You–God–You have been my help. Don’t fail me now! Don’t ever leave me alone! Don’t abandon me, Oh, my dear God who rescues me! My family has kicked me out, I’m not welcome at home. But you God, are all the family I need, you joyfully welcome me to live with you.”
God understands the fears we have when he calls us to seek him as our everything.
Perhaps the fears that we have are part of the beauty of what happens when we consent.
We find that he is many things for us, and he is also WORTHY of all of our trust, obedience, and adoration. He proved it at the cross. HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE.
Perhaps it’s this experience that led the Psalmist to end his song with this beautiful encouragement:
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!
He is a Love worth waiting for.