#40Before40,  Gleanings,  On Being a Christian,  Thoughts,  What I'm Loving What I'm Learning

God Is Not Far Away–He is Near

(photo credit: Ilze Janberga Photography)

Welcome to post #5 in my blog series, #40Before40: What I’m Loving and What I’m Learning. These are 40 posts leading up to my 40th birthday in May 2019.

God is not far, he is near

Yesterday my friend Ilze shared in our morning devotions at Gleanings. She said, “Ask God to reveal to you anything in your heart that you believe about Him that is not actually true.”

I closed my eyes and prayed and asked God, “Do I believe anything about you that isn’t true?”

“God is far away.” 

That’s the lie I believed. That He’s out there in another galaxy, way out beyond this world. Just like we observe the lives of ants from above, he observes our lives but really doesn’t care too much about our futile human situation. 

I believed God was far away. I have always believed it.

He sees us and he knows us, yes. But I believed I am an afterthought to him. He is great, mighty, holy, and occupied with more important things than my life. Yes, he hears my prayers. But I’m just a number to him. 

(As I admit this, my eyes fill with tears!)

So yesterday when I confessed this in prayer, He said to my heart, “I am just to your left.” 

Immediately I remembered a time when my son was 18-months old. He was choking on a dinner mint in the parking lot of a restaurant after church. Andy was trying everything he could to get it out. JL was silent, his teeth clenched. We were terrified. It was looking hopeless.

I instinctively turned slightly to my left and began to pray. I asked God for help, for a miracle. My pivot to the left was the only thing I could remember about that moment. Why did I turn to the left when Andy and the baby were on my right?

Just then, Andy got the baby’s mouth open, reached down his tiny throat, felt the mint, and flicked it with his finger. Then he did the Heimlich one more time and JL began to make some sound and then vomit. The mint came out. 

He cried. We all cried.

God heard our prayers and helped Andy know what to do.

Andy had just given an amazing sermon about God’s love for His one and only son, and how difficult it must have been for God to watch his son suffer. Andy had said it would crush him to pieces if anything ever happened to JL, his one and only son, and less than an hour later, we could have lost him. 

So in chapel yesterday, God told me “I am just to your left.” 

Why are you to my left?” I asked. 

“Because you are at my right hand,” He said.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; 

Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; 

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

—Isaiah 41:10

Do you believe it? Do you believe He is that close? 

Do you believe he can hear a prayer that you whisper in his ear? 

When I was desperate, I turned to him and he answered me.

Fall in love with your Creator. Look at the mountains and the trees, all animals and human life. He created you, your desires, and He knows your needs. Turn to Him and tell him what you are thinking! Tell him what you believe and what you don’t believe, confess that you are merely a human trying to do your best, and ask Him for help. 

This conversation is the relationship He wants with you. The real you.



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Chelsea Rotunno is the author of Goodnight to My Thoughts of You, a novel about life as a Christian teen searching for true love.

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