“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7, NIV 1984).
As I examined him last week, Jenkins wished me a happy New Year. When I came to his chest, I noted the hardware under his left clavicle.
“What’s this all about?”
“It’s my implanted cardiac stimulator.”
“I didn’t know you needed one. Has it ever shocked you?”
“Sure has. When I first got it, I teased my wife and faked a couple of shocks. Then it hit me for real and she wouldn’t even believe me.”
Ever try to shock God’s Spirit back into your life? God just doesn’t feel close and you want to feel His presence again, like that night you loved Him so much and told Him you would follow Him anywhere. But now you can’t even hear His voice and you wish desperately you could.
Such is the Christian experience for all of us at times. For doctors it comes with over work and time pressure. It comes with a prolonged focus on self-realization through acquiring and doing. One day we wake up and realize that our best friend, Jesus, is not around. We try to “shock” ourselves back into relationship by making ourselves read the right book, show up more for church, listen to spiritual tapes, volunteer for a night at the free health clinic….all good, all self-initiated shocks to restart our hearts for God. And yet, nothing we do seems to bring back that feeling of closeness to the Lord.
Then, in the middle of a fast-paced day, an elderly woman speaks a word of grace, God sweeps into the examining room and we are home with Him again. Go figure.
It’s all God. We cannot shock ourselves back to Him when we feel we have drifted away. It was He who found us in the first place and He has not let us go.
Perhaps our efforts at seeking to renew that relationship are simply wasted? I don’t think so. I suspect that God wants very much for us to seek Him with all the efforts of community, worship and service. And then, in the midst of these efforts, He honors our seeking by erasing a gap that we had fashioned, allowing us to realize His never-absent presence once more.
Dear God,Help me always to be aware of your presence. When you seem distant, help me to move myself out of the way.