Image

When God Feels Far Away

A lot of people find it odd when I tell them I love studying the book of Lamentations. No joke ya’ll I’ve read the book 50+ times. I also used to listen to Green Day in high school (lol)… I find myself especially drawn to this book when I am searching for God. Does anyone else ever do that, search for God?

It sounds bizarre that someone who loves God, and believes in God to the very depths of her soul would have to go and search for Him.

But sometimes God just feels far away. 

So the back story on Lamentations is, Jerusalem is falling. When I say falling, I really mean it is burning to the ground, people are getting stabbed to death, and possibly eating other people, (And you thought your life was a mess, ha!) The author of this book, which is likely Jeremiah, spends a lot of time talking about pain, sorrow, and death.

Then comes my favorite part in Lamentations 3:22-24

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.”

Ya’ll people are dying. The city is burning to the ground. Yet, I picture the author of this book sitting in the street, maybe fallen to his knees, amidst all the dirt and grime, and ugliness, and sorrow… and he still recognizes that God is who He says He is.

I think that’s why God says, “Be still and KNOW.” Sometimes, right in the middle of your loneliness, depression, and confusion you just need to be still and prophesy some truth.

You can say it out loud like you really mean it, or you can say it out loud until you mean it. “God, I know you are here. I know you love me. I know you are good.”

It’s normal to feel like God is far away sometimes. Whether you are in a hospital, at work, at a funeral, or in the middle of a praise and worship sesh at your church…

You aren’t a bad person, and you aren’t a bad christian. 

I think that’s what Jeremiah had to do. In the middle of it all, the pain, the sorrow, and the despair he had to stop and speak some truth. He had to be still, and say it out loud. His soul knew the truth. His brain just needed to hear it.

So if you’re reading this and you’re searching for God, if you’re feeling alone and without hope, and like God is out of reach and far away, speak out loud what your heart already knows.

And sometimes, if you are still enough, you might just hear Him whisper back, “I AM WITH YOU. I DO LOVE YOU. I AM GOOD.”

 

 

STOP JUDGING PEOPLE AND START LOVING THEM.

I was visiting a church one time. I heard someone that I was sitting with literally say, “Wow, (insert woman’s name here), should have re-thunk that dress. She looks huge.”

Are you kidding me?….

When did we, as Christians, become so self righteous? When did we start fooling ourselves into believing that we are superior to any other human? I say we because I too, am guilty of passing judgment.

It doesn’t end with hateful comments about someone’s appearance inside the church walls. It’s like we are promoting the lie that says, “You have to clean yourself up before you can come to church.” We look down upon “the big sins,” but then we forget the commandment in the bible that says, “love your neighbor as yourself.”

We become comfortable in our little bubble we call church, and sometimes we make anyone outside those church walls feel like just that, outsiders.

I want to point out Galatians 6:1-2, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (NIV)

Restore that person gently. Carry each other’s burdens.

We need to get uncomfortable. We need to get outside of our bubble, and out of our comfort zones. We are not called to be comfortable. We are called to love, even when it’s hard. Instead of throwing stones let’s build each other up. Let’s all stop trying to increase by seeing others decrease.

Sinners have no right to judge other sinners, only God can do that.

What is it inside of us that makes us feel better about ourselves by pointing out someone else’s sins? Does it make us feel less guilty about our own? We all sin. Don’t make someone feel like an outsider because they sin differently than you.

Those people that we are trying to keep on the outside are the very people we need to be the hands and feet of Jesus to.

I’m not saying that we should condone sin. I’m saying we need to be gentle, and help carry the weight. 

Jesus suffered a horrific crucifixion so that EVERY HUMAN could receive forgiveness. Those people that we are so desperate to exlude and forget about, the ones that have those “big sins,” JESUS DIED FOR THEM TOO.

The thing about Jesus is, He offers grace. The thing about grace is, none of us deserve it. Seek out those people that are different from you, and be gentle to them.

Stop judging people and start loving them.