If You Feel Far from God (even a little)


Being married to a pastor comes with definite advantages. I can get my Bible questions answered at the drop of a hat, or receive godly counsel about how to handle a difficult person (hypothetically, of course–wink, wink) without making an appointment.

These conversations usually take place while I make dinner and JP sits perched at our kitchen island, keeping me company. It’s during these moments we debrief our days together.

Of course, he’s perfectly capable of making dinner. Still, I like leisurely cutting vegetables while we revisit the day’s events. The rhythm of my chopping matches the rhythm of our chatting–a little of this, a little of that.

Occasionally, our conversation turns toward some nugget JP’s learned while preparing his sermon, or in his personal time with God. Sometimes he’ll share these insights with his staff during their Monday afternoon meetings. Often, he’ll also share them with me.

That’s what happened this week.

And since you probably aren’t married to a pastor, I thought I’d share our conversation with you.

While JP read Psalm 118 two verses–19 and 20–seemed to leap off the page. They speak about the way to enter into God’s presence.

“Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.”

The gate that leads to the presence of God is thanks.

It’s such a simple truth, but one I easily forget.

And here’s where this truth gets personal: Do you ever feel like God is a million miles away?

I’ve been there, too.

God is always present–whether we feel His presence, or not. Giving thanks helps us experience His presence.

The morning after our kitchen conversation I got up early, poured myself a strong cup of coffee, grabbed my Bible, and before I began reading, I paused to say, “thank you”.

Thank you, Lord for the gift of life.

Thank you, God for my family.

Thank you, Lord, for this home, this day, this sunshine.

Thank you that all my sins are forgiven.

Thank you that you hear me when I pray.

Thank you for the assurance of heaven.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And on it went.

And you know what? I experienced God’s presence in a fresh way.

But maybe you’re thinking, That’s great for you, but, honestly, I don’t feel thankful. What then?

Thank God anyway. We don’t need to feel thankful to give thanks, but if we give thanks we’ll inevitably feel thankful.

So walk around your house, your neighborhood, your school, or your office. Look around. You’ll find something or someone for which you can be thankful.

But don’t just think it; say it or write it.

When we express thanks to God we experience the closeness of God. 

God is really never far off. He’s as close as our next breath. When we slow down long enough to say “thank you”, suddenly our eyes–and our heart–become aware of all the ways He’s around us. Of all the things He’s done for us. Of all the blessings He’s given us.

And here’s the cool part: The gate to God is never shut. We can tell God “thank you” anywhere, anytime: in our car, in the shower, doing housework, rocking a child to sleep, and yes…as we read our Bible or pray. We don’t have to wait to go to church to experience God!

Thankfulness is good for our soul. Telling God “thank you” keeps us from becoming spiritually entitled children. And being grateful is the gate into God’s presence.

God is always present, gratitude reminds us that He is.


God is always present, gratitude reminds us that He is.
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You are loved,

Donna

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