Missing God?

This past week, my wife was out of town—and I was reminded of a lesson I learned many years ago that remains convicting to me. Maybe my story will challenge you, too. 

I was a young professor leading a group of students on a mission trip to West Africa, and Pam did not journey with us on that particular trip. For several days, I and the team were traveling in places where we had little access to available means of communication with home. It was, in fact, the longest Pam and I had ever gone without communicating with each other at least via email. Though I always much prefer to hear her voice, I can still “hear” her with every email she sends; even that, though, was not an option for those few days. I just missed Pam.

As we concluded the trip several days later, I and the students debriefed what the Lord had been showing and teaching us. For some, the vast global needs were overwhelming. For others, seeing the reality of shamans and witch doctors caught their Western minds off guard. A few students got their first opportunity to preach in that context, and their zeal for proclaiming the Word was almost infectious. At least one student confirmed her call to missions during that trip. 

Here’s what I most remember, though. As our team talked together, all I could think about were words I’m convinced the Spirit of God wanted me to hear: “You know how much you missed Pam when you didn’t talk to her or hear from her for those few days? . . . Do you ever miss Me like that when you can make it through the day without hearing from Me via reading the Word or talking to me via prayer?” 

Sometimes, frankly, even the question hurts. 

It hurt that day because I knew the answer. The days weren’t often, but there had been days when my time with God was minimal—when I allowed the busyness of the “good” to get in the way of the priority of the “best.”  There had been too many days when my quiet time was only perfunctory, or, perhaps even more troublesome, when I was simply catching up on my walk with the Lord because of days missed. Thus, the question stung. 

I admit a past tendency to be legalistic, but I knew I wanted a renewed relationship with God that made my quiet time more a natural part of my life. My prayer that day became, “Lord, don’t let me get through a day without spending time with You in Bible study and in prayer. God, let me so love You that I can’t imagine a day without a conversation with You.” Perhaps this prayer might be yours as well.

It was, by the way, out of that burden that I developed my Bible study plan that I continue to this day. I’ve written about it in the past, but I’ll include some details in Wednesday’s post at this site if you’d like to know more.

1 Comment

  • Patricia Griffith says:

    Chuck, I read most of your articles, blogs, but rarely response, most are encouraging and inspiring but ‘Missisng God?” could I use the term, “you nailed it” it hurts, it stung, I had to just stop and repent, God expects our relationship to be better than legalistic and perfunctory, Thank you for highlighing that flaw so astutely. God bless you.

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