It was Valentine’s Day afternoon and we hurried outside to catch the fading afternoon sunshine. As we walked, I slowly opened up to how I’d been feeling about my relationship with Jesus lately.
“I don’t know what’s wrong. I have just been having a hard time wanting to read the Bible and spend time with God. I feel like I am having a hard time really being intimate with Him these past few months,” I quietly confessed.
And my husband quietly pulled me closer to his side and gently poured forth wisdom. He said lots of wonderful, wise things, but what lingered with me were these words…
“Just because you aren’t hearing anything doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong.”
And as his continued pouring grace and truth into my heart and I mind, I slowly started to feel free.
My fear for months had been that opening my heart to God would just cause me pain. Yet rationally, I knew that drawing near to God would only heal and comfort any pain I was feeling, so I had buried my fears deep and fought to restore intimacy with God.
As I thought on his words later that evening, I realized that he was right. The perceived distance doesn’t necessarily mean I am doing something wrong, and even if it does, I don’t have the power to fix my own wrong doing.
My problem wasn’t a lack of desire for God or a lack of intimacy with God. My problem was that I was trying to create desire for and intimacy with God on my own. Even if the distance was of my own creating, I can’t restore intimacy by my own efforts…I can’t remove my sin through my own working.
All my striving and straining and working on my own would not restore the intimacy I longed for or forgive the sins in my heart or free my mind from the grip of the lies I was believing.
If I was feeling far from God no amount of discipline and work could change that.
Only God can forgive.
Only God can heal.
Only God can restore.
So the question became, not what I could do to restore intimacy with God, but would I humble myself and ask for His hand of forgiveness and healing and restoration?
So yes, I’ll keep reading and praying and worshiping and seeking Him just like I have these months of dryness. But this time, I won’t expect that it is my efforts to seek God that will bring intimacy.
This time I’ll humbly ask for His presence.
This time I’ll humbly seek His forgiveness.
This time I’ll humbly draw near to Him in awe and thanks.
This time I’ll humbly pray for His truth to combat the lies my heart so easily believes.
This time I’ll let His goodness pull me in, instead of fighting to create intimacy through my working.
And freedom has washed my heart anew this morning. Because the simple recognition of His power to heal my brokenness and His goodness to love me has broken down the barriers in my heart.
I may not hear His voice immediately…
I may not feel the intimacy I long for…
I may not leave the “dryness” right away…
…but I will be free from trying to fix it on my own.