[Papercut Press Publishing] 1999-06-23 - Questions 1999

I want to thank the many of you who sent in suggestions for topics or questions. The time is not closed to send them, keep them coming. There are some really good ones. Some make me shrug my shoulders and say, "I don't know either", others have brought me to tears. I look forward to sharing some of these with you over the next few weeks and maybe we can all grow through the experience of others. Here is number 1...

Hi my name is Alicia and I'm 14 and live in … I've been a Christian since I was little and I read my Bible every day, pray every day, go to church and youth group, try to witness to others, volunteer for stuff, but I still don't feel close to God. I know that he's always their and loves me and that I'm the one that's got to do the moving, but I just don't know how. Can u help me? Thanks for listening, I hope to hear from u soon Alicia

Dear Alicia, What you are saying, if you let me sum up, is, "I'm doing all this stuff. I'm doing all the right stuff. I'm doing all the things that a faithful Christian is supposed to do and yet, it's like going through motions, and it feels like I'm brushing my teeth. That extra special "something" that should be there, feels like it isn't."

I think, Alicia, your experience is very common. I have dry devotional times, and when I realize I'm having melancholy devotional times, I do something different. I mix it up. I try to find creative ways to make my devotions and prayer times interesting. I will share some with you, but don't laugh.

I read a version of the Bible I'm unfamiliar with. If I normally am an NIV man, I become an RSV or KJV man for a while. I read and pray in different places of the house, the smaller the better. I pray boldly, "Lets see if God is really listening and answers prayer." I take notes for later reference, even in prayer. I have one Bible that is all marked up, and another without a mark in it. I try to be creative, as creative as possible, while still maintaining structure.

You mentioned that you were the one who has to do the moving to God. You also mentioned all the things you did on a daily basis. I think there is a tie here, maybe. Alicia, you do not have to do the moving to God. You could never move close enough. God moves to you and then you are close to God.

In fact, doing Bible study, prayer, youth group, church stuff coming out of your ears will not move you closer to God if you are not already close to God through Christ. But when God moves close to you He gives you the very desires you have. He gives you the desire to pray, to study His Word, and to fellowship with others. So it seems you are on the right track.

Being close to God is a life effort. We will strive to this end the rest of our days and we will all experience dry spells. During these dry times it is best to continue to pray, to study God's Word, to fellowship with other saints, to attend the preaching of the Word of God in church, and, when offered, enjoy and savor the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. These are what folks call the means of grace and I encourage you to continue in them.

It is no easy to live the Christian life. There are often hills and valleys, but it is the faithful, those who follow God with an undivided heart that seem to have the added blessings from God of joy and contentment in their lives.

Soli Deo Gloria,