Take a moment and think about your best friend in the entire world. The person you talk to everyday, the person you tell everything to, the one person who can cheer up your day faster than anyone, the person who you tell every detail about your life to and vice versa.
Now imagine you don’t hear from them for a day. No big problem! Sure, you are a little bummed, but you can get over it. Make that two or three days. Or how about a week? A month? Your friend is officially MIA (missing in action)! During the time the two of you aren’t talking, you aren’t sharing life together, aren’t learning from each other, and aren’t growing together, in fact, you are growing apart. During this time there can be doubt. Did I do something wrong? Is my friend mad? Maybe they never liked me that much to begin with and got tired of pretending? Your mind can play terrible tricks on you as the days go by. When you finally do get to talk to this person again, it can be strained and awkward. You have to play catch up, missing out on details and sometimes important events that occurred when you weren’t speaking. Eventually things can get back to normal, but it doesn’t erase all the hurt and doubt that can come when you think you are being ignored by someone whom you care for.
Now think about God. Everything that we just looked at can be applied to Him, too! Last night, I found myself getting easily annoyed and snappy, unmotivated, and just generally discouraged. It occurred to me that I had gone 3 days without setting aside any time just for God, and my life was suffering because of it! I went 3 days without really talking to the one being who grows me, encourages me, advises me, and comforts me like no person ever could, and boy was I feeling the separation!
God never just walks away from us. Every time we are feeling separation, it is because we have walked away from Him. This is where our relationship with God is different from our relationship with people. The thing is, when we stop talking to God, we don’t hurt Him. No, He doesn’t like it, but He isn’t sitting in Heaven thinking any less of Himself, blaming Himself for the separation, or wondering what went wrong. God is God! He doesn’t need us to give Him worth, and He already knows exactly what is going on in our hearts that caused us to stop turning to Him. We don’t hurt God, but we hurt ourselves! When we decide to walk without the Lord, we start turning to the world, even if it is through little things like a quick temper, and we start living more and more in sin. We can only serve one master, and if we aren’t making God that master, the enemy will step in and take that position.
When we chose to put God on the back burner and neglect our time with Him, we also stop learning whatever it is that God is trying to show us! I’m sure everyone remembers or can attest to the fact that missing one day of school usually means you have to spend at least three catching up. It’s the same way when we miss out on the lessons God has in store for us! That hard day you were having yesterday? God may have had a lesson for you in that! The difficult problem you had in your marriage last week? God could have given you an answer that would have strengthened your marriage instead of causing more damage. When we choose to spend time not walking with God, we miss out on so many blessings and lessons that He could have prepared for us!
Tonight, I am going to spend some time with my best friend! I am far from perfect, and I know that this won’t be the last time that I choose to walk without Him, but I rejoice and praise Him because I know that every time I choose to walk away, He is waiting for me when I come back ready to embrace me and teach me once more!
For some further reading on this topic, I HIGHLY recommend that you read this story by Kristen Burgess. My pastor showed it to me a few years ago, and I have shared it with many people since. It completely changed the way that I approached my quiet time with God, and it is a wonderful picture of what it looks like through God’s eyes when we neglect to spend time with our Savior.