God does not change. God does not move. God is not nearer some days (or seasons) and farther in others. God always…is.
Yet, sometimes it does feel like God is farther away than at other times.
Even the Psalmist cries out,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me?” (Psalm 22)
I once heard a minister quip: “If you think God is farther away, it’s not God who moved.” Actually, possibly many ministers have quipped this–it kind of seems like that sort of statement. Being the doubter I often am, I’ve learned to test even the most trusted minister sayings against what I know about life and Scripture.
Truth is, you can be in the exact same place you were when you first believed…and know that God never “moves” and it can still legitimately seem like God is really…far…away.
Trust, seek, ask, knock…and NOTHING.
On that first Holy Friday that we now call “good,” I think about the women who followed Jesus. We know that most of the male disciples hit a point where they scattered in a moment of fear or wisdom. (After all, it does seem gutless to leave Jesus in his time of need, but who knows what would have become of the early church had they been arrested or killed as well.)
Yet the women remained. They stood at the foot of the cross. They wept and cared for each other. They awoke early on Sunday morning and carried burial spices to the tomb.
Always so close to God in flesh…yet how far away must God have seemed as they watched their Rabbi and friend die?
Easter was coming…but they had no idea.
When God seems far, could it sometimes be not the case of either God or I being less faithful, but rather that one of us still lacks the knowledge and understanding of God’s perfect plan?