This is the second in a short series of articles entitled “Is God really there?” which aim to address commonly asked questions about God. In the first one we sought to show that the God of the Bible is anything but an absentee landlord as some people may think. Indeed, if He were to stop His work of sustaining the planet and those on it for even a moment, we would all be in a very bad way.So if He is really there and if He is concerned for the inhabitants of planet Earth, then why does He feel so far away?
First and foremost, because there is a separation between us and Him due to our sin. This is not just a feeling; a real barrier exists because the God of the Bible is holy and we are not. When sinful human nature comes before a Holy God, we have to turn away and hide because of the acuteness of the contrast. Mankind was originally created to enjoy a close and communicative relationship with his Heavenly Father, but when man chose to disobey his Creator, there came about a rift and a breakdown in communication between us and our Maker which has existed ever since. We’re all familiar with what it feels like to be estranged from someone – it’s a horrible feeling, especially if it’s within our own family.
The first thing we need to realise is that this is not a gulf we can cross by our own good intentions, good works or good ideas. If we want to get past that barrier and enjoy closeness with our Heavenly Father instead of distance (as we were created to do), we have to be willing to listen to His analysis of the problem and do things His way.
For example, He warns that the person who hides their sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and turns from them will have mercy. That’s the opposite way round to the way most of us think about sin, so pride, independence and a self-willed attitude will all have to be overcome. That’s what Jesus meant about “entering through the narrow gate”. But the wise person will soon realise that the Lord’s command to “repent” (have a change of mind) towards Him is for our good and stems from His own longing that we are back in touch with Him.
You may be wondering whether you can trust the Bible – well, one reason for doing so is that it describes so accurately both the potential and the problems of being a human being in a fallen world. None of us can say that we are perfect. We have all inherited from our forebears that sinful, stubborn human nature which caused the problems in the first place, and each subsequent generation naturally follows on in the same way. We don’t have to do a thing in order to stay on the old familiar track – it comes quite naturally to us. It’s when we feel that inner urge that things are not right as they are and that we have some business to do with God that we need to respond. Today or whenever you hear His voice – do not harden your heart.
God has done everything possible to provide a way back. He’s made His choice and it cost Him a great deal. Now it’s our turn. We have a choice to make. We can either block up our ears, ignore our conscience and continue making our own way in the world without the Father we were created to know. Or we can admit that that rift exists and has been prolonged due to our own sinful attitudes and behaviour, and begin to seek for Him and the solution He has already provided.
We all know that it takes both parties to make the effort if a broken relationship is to be healed and develop properly. If God feels far away or if you doubt if He is there at all, the best thing you can do is to ask Him – genuinely ask Him, believing that He will lead you and speak to you in a real way.