It’s a story as old as time and a theme repeated throughout Scripture.
Hurting people cry out to God and God hears them. In their darkest hours, they feel God’s nearness and His love. He rescues, heals, and blesses them. The people receive these gifts from God with joyful and thankful hearts. They share what happened to them with others who are blessed and encouraged by their stories of healing and redemption. And celebration breaks out as the people respond to the wondrous love of God with praise and thanksgiving.
Then slowly life returns to normal. Just as it does for us when we come through a crisis.
The crisis passes, and the healing becomes part of our everyday reality. Oh sure, some scars remain as a reminder, and we gladly keep sharing our story of healing with others. But the intensity of the experience fades along with our hourly dependence on God to get us through.
And sometimes without even realizing it, we drift back into the driver’s seat of our lives.
We start thinking it’s up to us to keep the precious cargo of our healed heart secure, so we tighten our grip on the wheel. And we take extra precautions to avoid any detours that might lead to new pain or heartbreak. After all, we’re experienced drivers now. God wouldn’t trust us with the roadmap to get our ourselves to the next destination if he didn’t think we could handle it, right?
But as the road grows smooth and our journey becomes more predictable, we begin to miss Him and the nearness we once felt. And we wonder how we might get it back.
We pray that it won’t take another heartbreak to experience that kind of intimacy with God again. But when verse after verse in the Bible talks about God being close to the brokenhearted and “an ever present help in times of trouble,” we begin to wonder.
Is God closer to the brokenhearted than He is to the healed? No. His Spirit breathes life into us. (Job 33:4) In Him, we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28) It doesn’t get any closer than that. And that doesn’t change. Even when life takes us from crisis to healing.
What causes us to feel like the distance between God and us widens after He leads us through a crisis?
It could have something to do with that white-knuckled grip we’ve got on the steering wheel.
You see, our tendency to move away from God grows stronger as our immediate need for His help begins to shrink. As the pain lessens and the crisis passes, we start thinking we need to get back to handling things ourselves. With renewed strength and confidence, we start working to get things back under control.
We might think we’ve taken up enough of God’s time and attention. So we let Him off the hook by saying something like this: “Thank you for all your help, Lord, but I’m fine now. I can handle this small stuff after everything we’ve just been through together. You just move along now and help someone who’s really in trouble. Like I was before. I’ll give you another shout if I get stuck again.”
But it’s a mistake to think that God moves away from us after a crisis.
That’s not who God is. He doesn’t have to move on to someone else with a more urgent need. Because unlike us, He doesn’t have to divide His time between His children. Spending time with me doesn’t take away from the time He spends with you. He can be with all of us at once. Wild, right?
Yes, we might feel like God has moved away from us when we stop feeling the adrenaline pumping. But again, God isn’t like a human companion. He is with us always, whether we feel His presence or not.
He doesn’t move away. We do.
Our days fill up again with the concerns of life. We might even need to add some hustle to our game to make up for lost time. With our attention once more pulled in many directions, we find ourselves spending less time in God’s word searching for answers. And more time pursuing the daily goals we must meet. All the while thinking it’s up to us to guard and protect the spiritual ground we’ve gained.
And so we hold on even tighter.
But if we close our fingers too tightly around the blessings that come with our healing, we risk dimming and diminishing them down to something less when God always wants to grow them into something more.
So just as God encourages us to release our grip and surrender our pain and circumstances to Him during our trials, He invites us to hold our healed lives up to Him with open hands and thankful hearts. Trusting Him as much with the blessings as we do with our pain.
Whether we’re feeling stressed or blessed, the time to let go and trust God is always right now.
Not only when pain and sorrow strike. Not only while we journey with Him through that pain to the other side. But always. Even when we’re standing up to our eyeballs in His blessings and joy. Maybe especially then.
Because the closeness we feel to Him will continue to grow beyond our imaginations when we live out our healing with Him. Trusting Him with the blessings He gives and allowing Him stay in the driver’s seat of our lives. Steering us on to whatever comes next.
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)