I always liked this photo of the earth from the moon. Maybe because it shows us a new perspective on our place in the Universe, or maybe its how I imagine God views all of humanity. Regardless, it kind of takes me out of my little comfort zone where I am. Have you ever wanted to be an astronaut? Every once in a while, NASA takes applications for the job, and though chances are slim with the 10-20 thousand applicants each time, it may be fun to try. I’m sure being an astronaut involves more than just a desire to be in space, but requires significant physical and mental demands to do what is required as well. If you have ever read or listened to accounts of the first men in space in the 1960s-70’s, you may better understand some of the risks they were taking when venturing into unknown and unforgiving environments, but you will also hear about some of their unique experiences and connectedness to humanity when so far from it.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:1-3
Have you ever been lost in the woods, in a foreign country, or so far from the rest of humanity, you weren’t sure you would get back? I remember a mission trip in South American where we had to travel three hours by truck on a dirt trail to get to the next village of a hundred people. I remember looking out across the mountains thinking ‘We’re a long way from Iowa!’ But most of the people we met there were welcoming and generous, and a small group even traveled a distance to meet and pray with us, which made us not feel so far away, but very close to our distant brethren. You might hear stories of people who are surrounded by thousands of others each day in dense cities, but they don’t have very many close friends or relationships. This past year with an increase in social distancing and remote school and work situations, we may appreciate the ability to connect with others directly a little more than we did before. Have there been people you have not seen face to face in a long time, but that you still have a deep connection with? Have you ever felt the same way about God?
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Isaiah 29:13
When we have been separated from old friends for years, it is always good to reconnect and catch up on what has been going on in our lives. At the same time, I’ve met total strangers that I’ve had a deep conversations with, maybe only one time, but that was more profound than anything I’ve experienced with others I see most every day. So, physical distance from others doesn’t always make them feel close or far away from me. Can we say the same about God? When have you felt the closest or farthest from Him? And when you do feel far from Him, what things have you done to find your way back to Him? Many of us get distracted by work and life and forget to practice those things that keep us connected to God. But eventually, we become aware of empty pursuits, selfish motivations, and the harsh realities of life, and are drawn back to Him. Spending time in the Word and time talking to God through prayer are two solid ways to begin to feel alive and to draw close to Him again, no matter how far away you may feel from Him or anyone else.
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:5-7
Yours in Christ,