I’ve got a fairly decent commute to work each day, about 37 miles each way so depending on traffic and the time of day it can take anywhere from 40 to 50 minutes. That’s a lot of windshield time so thankfully there is decent radio reception and I have a 5 CD player in my vehicle. Mostly I listen to Air 1 Radio but sometimes I will turn it to one of the other religious stations in the area. Two of them play music, mostly a bit slower and quieter than Air 1, so I have to be in the right mood for them (plus they talk a lot more between songs and have their sponsor recognition spots, which is just a fancy term for…. commercials). Another station is mostly preaching from various pastors both local and elsewhere which again, you have to be in the mood for, and there are some speakers who are better than others. The other day I was listening to one sermon from a fairly well-known nationally broadcasted pastor who said something that stuck in my ear, and in my craw. He said words to the effect that sometimes God will withdraw from us to test us and make us grow. That by being apart from God as he hides from us we learn to seek him more.
I couldn’t disagree more. I challenge the notion that God is in the business of withholding Himself from us as Christians. Everything I read and learn in scripture and have experienced in my own life tells me otherwise.
The image of us as an island in the sea of life and God being like the tides of the ocean that pull away from us at various times only to reverse course and be drawn back towards us just doesn’t make sense to me. No, God is the eternal island in our sea of life and we are like the tides. It is us who pull away from Him only to return later. And like the sea we sometimes rage against Him while others times we are tranquil and calm. Yet through it all; our raging, our storming, our retreat, our flooding back again, God stands ever firm and ever-present patiently waiting for us. He is our island we can depend on find refuge in.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for all time! Hebrews 13:8 (Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament)
The Phillips translation says “Jesus Christ is always the same” He does not change. While we may undergo fickle hot and cold spiritual emotions as humans our God does not change, ever. Psalm 18:2 reminds us that “The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, my place of safety. He is my God, the Rock I run to for protection. He is my shield; by his power I am saved.He is my hiding place high in the hills.” (Easy-to-Read Version) That does not sound like a God who is in the habit of disappearing from the lives of his children does it?
My challenge to you today is that whatever sea of life you are navigating on to stop and ask yourself which way your boat is pointing. It is moving away or towards that safe island of God? You might find you need to change course and head back towards your island again.