Some of us never expected this season of lockdown to be upon us when we last met in February. It was a great night of fun, empowerment and meeting other singles from different churches. Now we are all missing face to face contact with people and hugs and kisses and handshakes with people. It’s like this social distancing has taken us by surprise. Suddenly all contact outside of our families stopped and we are all told 2 metres distancing wherever we go apart from within our homes. It feels like everyone is distant from us physically.
Where did God go?
Isn’t it true sometimes we can feel spiritually distant from others as well, and especially we can feel distant from the Lord. We feel we are isolated and all alone. We feel we have to defend ourselves and do things for ourselves and no one to help us. God is not speaking to us or doing things we expect or want him to do. God feels really distant; the relationship that we want didn’t work out and God’s not doing anything to make it work. The job we really want or the promotion, or the raise we really desire never came to pass and we are wondering where God is. Why is he not doing anything to help us? Does he really care? Does he even know how hurt and broken we are? He feels so distant that we wonder does he even exist? Our mind can’t comprehend such a loving God would allow us to go through this pain and not do anything about it. We feel we are so isolated and distanced from God that we are hurt, bitter, disappointed and detached from God.
When God repositions Himself
But actually, it might be true that God is distancing himself. The reality is that sometimes distancing is necessary for our growth. In this pandemic, social distancing is so necessary to contain the virus and prevent contagion, just like for a gardener it is necessary for him to space his plants to grow healthy and strong. By spacing his plants away from one another, the gardener reduces the risk of disease and improves the immune system of his plants so they can grow into healthy plants. Likewise God needs to sometimes separate us from relationships that can contaminate us and make us sick in the long run. God needs to space us and distance us from people who would prevent us from being the best that we can be. Just like the lockdown came overnight with no warning, God sometimes need to bring an end to a relationship that we had hoped so hard would work out. We were hoping and wishing that he or she would change their ways and things would get better. Now just like the lockdown, it all changed. God could let us keep wishing and hoping but he, in his sovereignty, knows we deserve better, so he’s repositioning us for our ultimate fulfilled life of walking in our destiny. I am reminded of the scriptures in Ex 14:19-20 “The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn’t come near each other all night.”
When the Israelites were coming out of Egypt, God was leading his people by a Pillar of Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night. The Cloud was in front of them leading and guiding them and that’s how Israelites knew God was with them, but suddenly we see in these scriptures that just when the Egyptian army was closing in on them, the Cloud wasn’t in front of them anymore; they couldn’t see God anymore. Where are you God? Where is the Cloud? Don’t leave us!! We are going to die at the hands of the Egyptians!! We panic like the Israelites. The reason we don’t feel God or see God is only because God is repositioning us.
Crossing into destiny
The reason we feel distance from God is because he is also repositioning himself so we get the ultimate victory. God is no longer in the front of us the way we are used to seeing, because he moved behind us so he can be between us and our enemy. He brought darkness and confusion to the Egyptians and light to the Israelites so they could cross over the Red Sea. God is separating us and our enemy so we can cross over to our destiny, to the purposes of God! It does feel like God doesn’t care, God is nowhere to be found, but in reality he just repositioned himself so he can launch us across to our destiny. Can I encourage you today if you feel alone and God seems so distant from you, remember the Israelites. God is removing himself out of the way so he can position you in a better place, into a better relationship, a better job, and into your purposes.
Pastor Nancy Willis