When You Feel So Far Away

by Andy Wood on May 22, 2013

in Five LV Laws, Life Currency, Love, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase, Waiting

Nighttime PrayerJordan’s heart is still awake, even though his body surrendered to sleep an hour ago. He’s restless. Anticipating. Watching and listening for that heart connection he once knew. In the psalmist’s language, Jordan is thirsty like a deer panting for streams of water.  He knows what he’s thirsty for, and He knows that God is faithful.  And yet in this dry season, He feels so far away.

Caitlyn waits all the time, but the nighttime seems the rudest. She waits for a change in her mother’s prognosis, even though no change is coming. She waits for that dreaded decline in respiration, though it seems her Mama is too tough and too stubborn to die. The days keep her busy, but the nights at the bedside turn up the volume on Caitlyn’s grieving heart.  She knows that ultimately what she’s waiting for is the Lord.  And He feels so far away.

Brody is exhausted. It’s been the longest night of his professional life, but the rookie firefighter forges ahead through the rubble of what once was a safe place for kids; a cruel tornado had other ideas. Keeping his own two children, ages 4 and 2, close in his heart, Brody alternately prays he will find survivors and rages that a just, loving God lets innocent children die. His faith is as weary as his body and mind. He wants to believe God.  But He feels so far away.

Cindy sorts through photos and memories of what sometimes looks like someone else’s life. She called it her “days of awakening,” and so they were.  Though she had been a believer since she was 11 years old, amazing things began to happen in Cindy’s life when she was a student in college. Unusual, near-instant answers to prayer. Life-changing mission trips where once she even witnessed a miraculous healing. Extraordinary spiritual growth.  Now ten years later, Cindy is hungry to see those days of awakening again. But it’s been a long time, and He feels so far away.

Is He Worth Waiting For?

Experiences like those – when you’re emotionally hungry, angry, lonely, or tired – serve up one of the most profound challenges any person of faith will experience:  When God feels so far away, is He worth waiting for?

Is it worth another night of stillness?

Is it worth it to give Him time when the only thing you’re hearing from Heaven is quiet?

After all, there is a never-ending supply of cheap substitutes and even cheaper people that offer their own solutions to that yearning ache. But if you’ve ever heard the voice of God when it seemed as though He were calling your name and yours only, and if you’ve ever felt as though He stooped to answer your prayers in the nighttime, then nothing else will truly satisfy that thirst again.

Even when He feels so far away, He’s worth waiting for.

Even when He seems so silent, He makes the yearning worth it.

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God (Psalm 42:11, NKJ).

If we were completely self-sufficient – if we were the solution to all our needs – there would never be a reason for a yearning, disquieted heart.

If there never were any waiting – if life were truly a matter of instant gratification – there would never be a need for hope.

If there were never any night seasons – if every life experience were a matter of seeing and hearing and feeling – there would never be a need for faith.

But your yearning and waiting is a present reminder of an eternal truth – that your God is the help of your countenance and the source of your hope.

I’m Yours

It’s one thing to offer yourself to Him when the sun is shining and He seems front-and-center. It’s another to say “I’m yours” to Him when the words seem to fall like lead to your feet.

But will you?

Will you trust Him enough to tell Him how you feel?

Will you remember who He is, and what He has done for you in the past?

Will you fulfill your commitments to Him without compromise?

Will you burn the bridges you’ve built to old cheap substitutes and steadfastly wait for the finest and best He has to offer?

Will you sing your songs in the night, even when it seems there is no one there to hear them?

Will you call on His name, even when it seems as though He can’t hear you?

Will you praise Him, not just for what He has done and who He is, but for what He will do for you in the future?

Will you declare, even in the loneliest of seasons, “I’m yours?”

Jordan’s heart is still awake, even though his body surrendered to sleep an hour ago. Even as he dreams, he does so as one whose heart has poured out his all before the Lord – all the anger, the frustration, the spiritual isolation.  “It is what it is,” he had reasoned, “and God knows where my heart is anyway.” And so he waits – but he waits with integrity as his Heavenly Father whispers over him, “I’m yours… and I’m here.”

Caitlyn waits at her mother’s bedside, mindlessly watching the monitors and tuning out the hospital sounds and smells. She’s remembering now… all the ways God has shown His faithfulness and care – not the least of which was through a faithful mama. Confident that He never wastes an experience, she whispers a tearful “thank you” to a God she can’t sense. But she believes – even as He helps her unbelief.

“I’m yours,” He says quietly, “and I’m here.”

Brody sits on a curb alone – a sweaty combination of too-tired-to-move and too-shocked-to-cry.  He’s had the joy of holding hands with survivors as he reunited them with their parents. He’s experienced the heartache of carrying lifeless, broken bodies from the disaster scene and seeing parents’ worst fears realized. Unable to find a way to rail at God, unwilling to walk away from his faith, Brody gives voice to the tender song rising up from his broken heart:  Jesus loves me this I know…

“I’m yours,” He replies, “and I’m here.”

Cindy sorts through photos and memories of what sometimes looks like someone else’s life. She remembers the profound nearness of God, the daily revelations of His truth and character, the dramatic answers to prayer. Sensing the distance she feels from God, Cindy is seized with a disturbing, yet hopeful thought:  What if He’s been here all the time, and I was the one who moved? And on this night, she takes that one step back in His direction as she calls on His name.

“I’m here,” He answers, “and I’m yours.”

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha Orlando May 23, 2013 at 6:59 am

What an incredible reminder that God is always with us even when we don’t feel His presence as we struggle through our dark nights of the soul . . . He is faithful; it is always we who do the moving away.
Blessings, Andy!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Practice Makes (Almost) Perfect

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