Earlier this week, I had a moment where I found myself really needing to draw close to God. I logged into WordPress intending to read some of the things that other people had been posting. I wanted to be inspired. But as I was waiting for the page to load, I suddenly had this thought come into my mind. Why do you search for Me only in others? Why can’t you ever just come to Me? Why do you treat Me as though I am merely some distant presence to be talked about instead of a person you can talk directly to? You need Me, and I’m right here. So, come to Me. Talk to Me. Please.
It completely stopped me in my tracks. Immediately, I shut my computer down and walked upstairs to my bedroom. I keep a journal there. It was a Christmas present from a friend of mine, and it has a verse from Philippians on the cover. I use it to write to God. Sometimes, letters. Sometimes, poetry. But always expressions of intimacy that are meant only for Him. So, that afternoon, rather than reading about Him, I wrote to Him, instead. I told Him how much I wanted Him to be with me—that I never wanted to be without Him.
I started to think about how often I’ve replaced Him with other things—other people, even—bearing a likeness to Him. It’s not that I don’t find value in studying the things that have been inspired by God, or in my relationships with other Christians. These things are important, and I think God wants us to have them. But I also think that sometimes, if we’re not careful, we run the risk of making them our idols. In the bounds of this world where the spiritual is often veiled behind the physical, we forget that God is a person. He’s not just an idea, or a subject to be studied, but we treat Him that way because He’s not physical to us in the same way we’re physical to each other.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself drawn to someone—incredibly drawn to someone—who reminds me of God, only to realize later that it was God, Himself, to whom I should’ve been drawn. God, Himself, to whom I should’ve run! And each time it happens, the realization is always so incredibly painful because I know that I could’ve avoided it.
Sometimes, we have to remind ourselves of how real God actually is. But if we can commit to treating Him as such, I know that eventually we’ll come to a place where we won’t have to remind ourselves at all. We’ll have relationships with Him that are as real and tangible as any human relationship is—and so much better.