We Don't Hold On To God

photo by Wills Francis

photo by Wills Francis

I had a professor in college who was the type of man who seemed to say paragraphs in every sentence and novels in every lecture. Each class was so dense and powerful, you were either scribbling down every word or just gave up and listened. He had one phrase that seemed to echo through each subject and topic: “Remember this, friends. Even when we are unfaithful, God is faithful.”

Those words have been swirling around my head and heart since that class almost two years ago, and only recently have they meant more than theological conclusions. I have lots of conversations with friends where we find ourselves expressing how seasons of our lives feel distant from God. He feels far away, always out of reach, and never easy to talk to. How is God faithful in those times when He feels like He’s left the building?

I think as part of our messiness of being human, we tend to think and want things to be under our control. We want to feel like we are always calling the shots. Even in the midst of feeling distant from God, we feel its up to us to get reconnected to Him. I have pictured God as a mean, emotional sibling who gives you the cold shoulder if you hurt His feelings. When we mess up or stray from Him, He may hold it against us, or so I believed. Then, it was up to us to figure out how to get right again with Him.

I think even more incorrect than this image is the thought that God willingly lets us walk away from Him. My perspective on this has changed.

I have come to believe that God holds on to me.

During those seasons of life where He seems distant, I think God asks us to trust in our history with Him. I think He asks us to trust in this magnificent work He weaves into our lives and how crucial that work is to our true selves – the deepest, most holy parts of who we are. We forget that we need God, even when it feels like we don’t. He has put within us a hunger for Him that never truly goes away and permeates every season and circumstance of our lives. And that history of following Him is the process by which He bonds His heart to ours. He uses stories and memories and years of time to do this, and at the end at our deepest core we could never leave Him because He will never leave us.

Friends, I want to press you to believe that God remains faithful even when we are unfaithful. I want you to trust that in seasons that feel far from Him, He will bring you back and it will be of no effort on your own. I am tired of carrying the weight of my own faith, because as important as I think my faith is, I know that God’s love for you and me is incomparable.