Arm's Length

At this very moment, as I sit pondering the words God leads my nimble fingers to write, there is a complete and total stranger staring at me from across the coffee shop, and I am utterly struggling to concentrate. I don’t know if I know him or if he thinks he knows me. Maybe he is just a friendly person, or maybe he is an artist trying to practice figure drawings, but he is frustrated because I keep fidgeting. He won’t be able to get my hands quite right. I could tell him that right now.

Sometimes I think that maybe it’s the way some people view God. They sort of know Him, and if they saw Him in a coffee shop once or twice, they might wave or mutter a “hello” without making direct eye contact. I mean He is God. He made the heavens and earth, and he stitched us together, bone, marrow and all. But to slap Him on the back, give Him a bear hug, and invite him to join you at the table? That’s going a bit far.

I think a lot of people are willing to settle for a very surface-level relationship with God. Sometimes they may even seem fairly deep from the outside looking in, but to ask someone if they truly know a creator they cannot know on a tangible level may seem absolutely preposterous to some.

Honestly, I don’t think there was ever a moment in my life of surface-level love for God. I didn’t know Him and then I did. It was that simple, like a light switch with a billion watt bulb.

I think that we get very comfortable in the mediocre sometimes. It’s like we are in a room made of thorns but we sort of ease into it and convince ourselves the pain isn’t that terrible. Our brains are marvelous things. They will do just about anything to cope.

Before I knew who He was, I suffered with depression on and off. I became so used to it that I began to attribute my creativity to my pain. I was so lost in this hole that I had convinced myself I could not be me – creative me – without the misery. I stopped wanting help. Where would I be without the cloud over my head? More importantly, who would I be?

I know not everyone suffers with depression, but I think to an extent we all have a tendency to take on certain attributes, whether they are healthy or unhealthy, as a means of finding consistency in who we are. As people, we aren’t very consistent. Unfortunately, addictions are. We become addicted to the negative attributes because it creates something to which we can hold. The same could be said for sex, partying, drinking, and even simple apathy.

We believe that to strive for anything better, something beyond the mediocre would result in giving up this consistency, this foundation on which we can stand. We tell ourselves, "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," and justify our fear of faith. But the thing is, the idols we rely on are not all that reliable. I truly believe that the reason why people hold God at arm's length is because they have no clue that God’s foundation is an even greater foundation, and to align your self with Him is to find true consistency. The promises God has in store for you, the promises to prosper you and not to harm you, are so much greater. The settling becomes chains and manacles binding you to a life of just good enough but never the divine.

To trust in God is both sound choice and bravery. I can only offer you promises and testimonies of what He has done in my life, and though this may not be seen as enough, I can only pray that you give God one single chance to prove that Christ is the end-all. If you allow Him to draw you close, no other proof will be necessary.

“’For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10)