For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38
It was just after Christmas in 2009. We’d celebrated Christmas with our son’s family, which now included our first grandchild, a precious 1-month-old boy. Now, I was left in their home to dog-sit with our two granddogs while my husband, Jack, flew off to Alabama for a holiday visit; and our kids left for a few days to attend our daughter-in-law’s family reunion.
Aside from a bad cold, I was all set to enjoy myself with left-over Christmas goodies, the dogs, and a movie marathon. But then… Isn’t there always a but?
I journaled: “Jack’s computer charging cable didn’t get packed and he called, desperate, because he had no way to show the very-old super-8-to-DVD movies we’d made for his family. I located a nearby post office, went out with my cough and runny nose, and sent the cord via priority mail, hoping it would arrive before he had to fly home. But now (another but!) apparently my phone cord did make the trip to Alabama! I am so grateful that my connection with God can never be lost, stolen or broken.”
Our guaranteed God-connection does have one mandatory requirement – to receive Jesus Christ as Savior:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
Yet, sometimes it just seems like God is so far away and, like King David, we may begin to doubt:
Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1
Or, perhaps we wonder if He’s even aware of our difficulties. Scripture is clear that He is:
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high;
I cannot attain it. Psalm 139:1-5
For every concern there is a corresponding biblical truth, so let’s look at a few common questions. First, how can we know that He even hears our prayers, let alone listens and answers them?
Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24
“Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:2-3
We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. John 9:31
How can I be sure God will not just give up on me and walk away?
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:18
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Is it even possible for me to ever become close to God?
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place
from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:11-14a
But I’m afraid. How can I trust Him?
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:41:10-13
I am a Christian, but I need to grow closer to God. I really want to have a secure connection with Him. How do I do that?
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
The Apostle Paul summed it up well in his letter to the Colossians:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:1-17
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