For years my prayers to God were calls of tears for Him to come to me. Holy Spirit, come! Jesus, Come! Abba, Father, Come! I would cry in agony, feeling that if I just evoked enough emotion, showed my need, my earnest heart before Him, then maybe He would grace me with his presence.
God’s words from Jeremiah 29:13 seemed to affirm these prayers from my heart:
I figured I didn’t sense God’s presence because my heart wasn’t in it enough. I believed I had to do something more, some more measured effort in order to obtain the joy of the Lord in my soul.
I longed to know His presence.
But I was basing my understanding of how to obtain God’s presence on a misunderstanding of Jeremiah 29:13. The verse was written to the people of God when they had been exiled to Babylon after worshiping idols. As Isaiah wrote, in their worship of other gods their hearts were far from the one true God. (Isaiah 29:13) So they faced the consequences – time apart from Him.
But in Jeremiah 29, God promises the people that one day they will return to the Promised Land and would once again be in full communion with Him. He promises restoration of the people, restoration of the plans he has for them, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (29:11). At that time, when all is restored, God promises:
You will worship me with all your heart, and I will be with you. Jeremiah 29:13 (CEV)
God is not hiding.
He is not expecting you or me or our kids or our spouses to say the right words, go through the right motions, practice the right spiritual moves in order to be near Him. God is near us because He promised to be near us. He is near us, because He decided to die for us, to send His Spirit to us, and to live in us.
Whatever you’re going through, He is with you. He is with us as we search for our next home, as we start our new schools, as we write our books, and scrub the bathroom floors. He is with us, because He decided to be with us.
He is with us, because He promised.
And that is enough.
This post is part of the larger Five Minute Friday community found on Kate Motaung’s blog. We write, for five minutes, together. No major edits. No second guesses, just writing to connect, to grow, to be. We would love to see you there.
This week’s writing prompt: Find.