When I was growing up my mom used to have a cartoon on the refrigerator. It showed a guy in a boat, looking rather lost and bewildered. It said, “If God feels distant, who moved?” There’s part of that cartoon that is very clever and it’s not the caption. It’s the fact that the man is in a boat. You see in a boat there is drift. And what I’ve found in my own life and in the lives of people I know and work with, often it’s not that we set a course apart from God but that we wake up one day to realize that we have drifted. Through a series of small, incremental gaps, our course and our life in Christ begin to pull apart.
I think many Christians experience this gradual distancing from God. Sometimes it is due to neglect in our relationship with Christ caused by stress or pain. Sometimes it can be quite the opposite. It may be neglect due to success and prosperity. That certainly happened repeatedly to Israel. The cries to God subsided as they experienced blessing and peace. It often wasn’t until they became desperate they began to call on God again.
But whatever the cause, what are we to do when we discover that we have drifted from our Lord?
Well, what do we do when we are lost? We find our last known position. It’s really no different spiritually.
Go to where you last found Him.
Think back to where you last encountered Him, where you last knew that you knew and were truly present with Him and him to you.
Was it in a book? Scripture? Music? A particular spiritual writer? A place? Adoration perhaps?
Wherever you last encountered him, return to that spiritual locale and wait. Open that book. Listen to that song. Kneel in the glow of candlelight with the smell of incense hanging in the air. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear angelic choirs. Your return may feel more subtle, more simple. Just rest in the spiritual attitude of returning. And pray simply, “My Lord and My God.”
And if you listen closely with your heart, you will more than likely hear rejoicing and the sound of the Father running down the road to welcome you home.
Whether you drifted away or ran away—it does not matter. The question isn’t ultimately about “who moved?” That question is obliterated in the relentless love of God that pursues us no matter how far we have drifted.
[This article is good to reflect on during this season of Lent. It is from an excellent website: The Integrated Catholic. Here is a link to both.]
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