Lately, God and I have been estranged. For the last month or so, my quiet times have been haphazard, my prayer life paltry. My worship? Verging on fake.
But I have excuses. Five weeks ago, we brought a puppy into our lives, and the ensuing chaos of sleep deprivation and house training has curtailed my early-morning routine of reading the Bible, praying, and writing in my gratitude journal.
And then there's the seasonal depression I battle that dies as slowly as winter. I face my days with a lethargic resoluteness, longing for spring to return to my soul. I drag myself out of bed, searching for my coffee instead of my Bible. And when the frenetic morning pace subsides, I seek not God's face but Facebook.
I thought I'd fast from Facebook during Lent, but that lasted about three hours. I couldn't keep away. I wanted to keep posting clever "status updates" and check on the activities of my "friends." Before I knew it, I was busying myself with household tasks and Internet vanities, and the time I could have used to connect with God evaporated.
But I miss God. I miss talking to him through furiously penned words in my journal, where I spill out angst or joy or requests in a tumble of raw, unrestrained emotions. I miss sipping steaming coffee as I survey my backyard from a sunny window and ponder Scripture passages. I miss offering up prayers for my friends— so many to pray for, so many in need. Even if during those moments I experience no lightning bolts, no voice from heaven granting me grand revelations, I know the cumulative effect of this intimacy deepens my relationship with God.
So today I decide to find my way back, to slough off the excuses I've allowed to hold me sway. While the washer spins and the puppy snores, I shut down Facebook and repent of being lazy and lukewarm.
Then I open my Bible and read, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8: 37-39).
An enormous wave of relief washes over me, reassuring me that even though I distance myself from God, he never distances himself from me. Because I'm his child, nothing can ever separate me from his love. Nothing, including …
- depression, lethargy, addictions of any kind (including Facebook)
- sadness and pain
- loneliness and rejection
- wounds that gnaw at the soul
- feeling lost in the shuffle or marginalized by society
- doubts and questions
- broken hearts and hurt feelings
- financial anxiety and worry about the future
- disappointment over dashed dreams or aborted hope
- low self-esteem or timidity
God says these principalities of the heart, these demons of the mind, these depths and powers cannot, will not, separate me from his love.
Depression might immobilize me, addiction might distract me, disappointment might demotivate me, anxiety might cripple me. These things and others I too often permit to take me captive. But Jesus came, died, and rose again to set this captive free.
The author of Hebrews says to "strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish" (Hebrews 12:1-2). So I surrender my excuses and refocus on him. And I rediscover what's always true: He's here, now, close as my breath, waiting to overwhelm me with his love. "Come near to God and he will come near to you" (John 4:8).
The tumbling laundry quiets; the load finishes. The puppy whimpers in her crate. Moments I normally relinquish to Facebook have become redeemed. And as I think about God's great love, which spans the distance to reach even a wretch like me, I sense spring rising in my soul.
Copyright © 2010 by the author or Christianity Today/Kyria.com.
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