When God seems distant

But hasn’t God deliberately made himself distant, by being “up there” while we’re “down here”? Why can’t we be with him, watch him in action, be able to converse with him and go to him at any time? Wouldn’t that make it easier for us to know him and love him in return?

You’d think it would be, yes, because that’s how it works between us humans. Love between us comes from being together, and having easy contact with each other. It’s a rare relationship that develops love from a distance, and love is severely tested when one person is away a lot and communication is difficult. So why doesn’t God communicate personally with us?

Because he already tried that, with angels. They had free access to him, as we see in the book of Job. They could go into God’s office, so to speak, and talk to him face to face. But one third of the angels ditched God. They didn’t like him. They wanted him dead. Easy contact with God, then, was no guarantee of a loving relationship.

With that lesson firmly imprinted, God then creates humans, and immediately demonstrates what a relationship IS based on. it’s based on trust. So he gives Adam and Eve a test, to see if they’ll trust him. They don’t. A slick charmer turns up and they both fall head over heels for him instead. And when God tries the personal contact route again with the nation of Israel, they ditch him too, for other gods. And when Jesus then comes as God in person, we kill him. God being close to us, therefore, is no guarantee we’ll trust him or love him in return.

So what on earth does God do now? He either has to ditch us all together because we reject him, or he has to love us from a distance. But if we can trust him without seeing him – now that would be amazing. It would also be the greatest test of all, because God only offers humanity a book about himself, that people would have to read and understand to spark their trust in him. He said it would work, though. Faith would come through hearing (or reading), and from faith would then come love.

God may seem distant, then, but he isn’t. He’s talking to us through a book, and we can either pick it up and read it, or not. If we read it, he says, something magical happens: God comes alive to us. So he’s done his part. His book is still the world’s best seller. Any feeling of distance between us and God, then, isn’t his fault.


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