In Our Closet
God is Only as Close as We Allow
By Laura Spurlin
I have felt God in the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
I have felt Him closer than ever before, and I have also felt the furthest from Him than ever before.
I have walked with Him over the mountaintops and through the valleys, but God is just as present on the highest mountain as He is in the lowest valley.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:8
“I have felt Him closer than ever before, and I have also felt the furthest from Him than ever before.”
In Deuteronomy chapter 31, Joshua becomes Israel’s new leader.
Let’s add a little backstory here: The previous leader, Moses, is known to be one of the
greatest prophets and leaders of the Bible. Moses led the Israelites from Egypt through the wilderness to the Promised Land over the course of 40 years – he led his army away from Pharoah (Exodus 13 and 14), through the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14), received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), and wrote the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). What a leader to follow up behind? Can you even imagine?! (Insert nervous squeal!) I can imagine that Joshua felt a great weight of responsibility, but he had also grown in wisdom from following under Moses’ leadership.
The same God who made His presence known to Moses (Exodus 3:12), the same God who encouraged Joshua through the words of Moses (Deuteronomy 31:8), the same God who promised to be with Joshua (Joshua 1:9), and the same God who encouraged Joshua through the words of Israel’s army (Joshua 1:16-18) – this same God promises to be with us and encourages us that He is always near to us! No matter where we go or what we face God will be with us. He will not leave us or abandon us in our hardships.
But friend, God will only feel as close as we allow Him. Just like any friendship, we must spend time with a friend to build a relationship with them. Likewise, we must devote time to spend with the Lord. He longs for us to spend time with Him. We must ask ourselves, are we seeking God just on Sunday mornings? Maybe, just when the doors of the church are open? What about, just when we are experiencing hardships or when we are faced with a miracle that could only be from the Hands of God?
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:13 NIV
When we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him. But how can we seek God with all our heart?
We can seek Him by:
- Praising Him through song – playing a musical instrument or raising your hands in praise as you lift a “joyful noise to the Lord” (Psalm 98:4)
- Spending time in His Word – maybe accompanied by a devotional or Bible Study.
- Striving to be more like Him with those around us
- Giving financially through tithing and offerings
- Inviting Him into our presence.
- Journaling – your prayers, what you are thankful for, your thoughts and feelings.
- Scripture memorization – hiding the Word of God in their heart for when a circumstance arises.
- Being in nature – having the sun to beam on your face, the sounds of wildlife and streams, or the feeling and sound of raindrops. Enjoying God’s creation!
Many times, all the weight I am carrying is so hard to put into words. But, friend, we don’t have to have the words. We just have to have the willingness. The willingness to call on the name of the Lord. The willingness to surrender our control (or really, our lack of) to the One who holds the bigger picture. To the One who sees the other side of our pain and suffering. To the One who knew we were worth dying for.
My kids will frequently find me singing a song as I go about my day, especially in moments where I feel overwhelmed. Like this one, “Holy Spirit”,
“Holy Spirit, you are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your Glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord.”
This moment of song allows me to refocus my attention to the Lord, a reminder that He is with me, invite Him into the moment I am facing, and allow Him to steady my emotions.
Just prior to the previous verse in Jeremiah, God’s Word says,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
Jeremiah 29:11-12 NIV
This verse is one we have probably all seen. Especially when someone is graduating. But friend, this is not just a verse to write inside the card of a graduate. His plans for us are always good! Are they hard? Absolutely. Do we feel alone at times? Yes, but God is always working for our good even when we can’t see it or feel it. We don’t have to wait for the right time to call on Him. We don’t have to wait until the kids are settled, the demands are met, or the chaos quiets. We can call on the name of the Lord in the midst of our storm and in the midst of our heavy burdens.
When we seek Him, He is there.
When we call out to Him, He is listening.
When we invite Him into our moment, He is close.
When we rest in His presence, we are held.
However you can connect with Him – connect with Him. Spend time with Him, friend. God has a plan for your life, for your pain, and for your joy.
All we must do is simply invite God into our moment and allow Him to do the rest.
How are you inviting God into your day today, friend?
until next time, Laura
Share this article
Laura Spurlin is a nurse who boxed up her scrubs to be a stay-at-home-mama to her two kiddos. In this season of motherhood, her anxiety hit a soaring peak and her depression hit a deep low. With this battle came a stronger, deeper, and more surrendering (on her end) relationship with Christ, and a love for writing what He places on her heart about mothering, marriage, and mental health.
Find her here on instagram