I was coming home late from the studio last week and couldn’t find parking. One way streets kept me circling the block long enough for Shuffle to land on a song I would’ve skipped if my eyes hadn’t been scanning for a spot.
Muttering how annoying it was that there wasn’t a single spot open on Thomas or Cortez or even Augusta, my ears caught a string of words that slowly began to unravel me.
‘I tore the veil for you to come close.
There’s no reason for you to stand at a distance anymore.
You’re not far from Home.’
Tears stung my eyes, and I rolled to a stop in the middle of the street to catch my breath. My lungs felt too small to hold the air I needed. ‘This hurts. This hurts. This hurts.’ It’s all I could say over and over through ragged breath.
There’s been a distance between Jesus and me. I’ve been asking Him to bridge that distance this week but acknowledging that is hard. What is important to know is that I have such a hard time with distance. Irrationally, almost- unreasonably at times- the second I feel a shift or a step back in relationships that are important to me, my heart seizes up. Everything in me clenches tightly, and my bend towards control leads me to unleash an often overwhelming wave of ‘this distance must be closed immediately.’
Yet, there I was, not even a week ago. 9:30 PM in a dark car with my foot on the brake and salty tears falling from my chin. My most important relationship felt disregarded, almost forgotten. Like I was seeing someone I used to know but couldn’t place their face- do I know you from college? From church? From the gym? I’ve exhausted relationships with friends and family by powering through a perceived distance, yet with Jesus, I’ve all but given up?
I sat in the street until headlights from another car flashed in my rearview and honked for me to move. As my foot let off the brake, my heart ached as I thought about the distance I felt from Jesus. How He felt and still feels too far for me to reach on my own. But with every other breath, I also felt desperate for nearness. Knowing that I’d been the one who’d created the gap between us was the kind of disappointment that paralyzes. Some days it feels like I’m staring out across a cavern I don’t have the energy to cross on my own, with Jesus on the other side.
It’s the trap I’ve fallen into 8000 times & I wish it wasn’t the case, but I know will fall into 8000 more. I distance myself from the only satisfying Love that never fails. I sway back and forth between craving a knowing closeness with a Savior. Then it’s as if the intimacy becomes too much for me to stand, and I sprint away towards rebellion, towards settling, towards hurt.
I say all this because maybe you’re there, too. We aren’t supposed to live our wild lives alone. Maybe you’re in a season of not wanting Jesus at all. It’s been hard to admit that my relationship with Jesus is struggling. That I’m not so sure of what I’ve always been sure of. That I have doubted the heart of God. That I’m not ‘where I should be’ with faith.
So what I’m trying to remember, what I’m trying to keep at the forefront of my heart when I’m hurting and frustrated with Jesus is this: Jesus, You tore the veil at the height of our depravity. At our worst- at my worst.
You chose to come fully to us knowing that we weren’t going to choose You.
You chose to give knowing that we’d only be able to take and take and take even more.
You chose, and still choose, to love me knowing that even today- right now- I am having the hardest time choosing you.
And yet this is when You continually ask for me to come close.
When I’m wanting You but fighting You just the same.
When I’m stuck and scared and lonely and tired, but hell bent on not needing anyone.
When I need You but my feet won’t move, pull me in.
Help me not stand at a distance.
Help me not fix my eyes on the distance I feel, but the nearness You long for with me. Remind me that I’m not far from Home.
Help me choose you. Help me choose to come close.