Last Sunday, I watched on YouTube a convicting message by David Jeremiah about gratitude versus thankfulness. I’d like to write about much of what I learned in a post closer to Thanksgiving, but for today, I wanted to share one of the lessons that most stirred my heart.
(In the mean time, if you’d like to watch Dr. Jeremiah’s message in full, click here.)
I’ve often heard others say that God feels far away. Their prayers seem to go nowhere and mean nothing.
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? – Psalm 22:1
I’ve occasionally had those sorts of feelings myself, though I know that my fickle emotions are no indicator of God’s presence, or of his ability to answer my prayers. Of course, if I’m harboring sin in my heart, that’s a different matter.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. – Isaiah 59:2
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. – I Peter 3:12
But if, as the hymn says, there’s “nothing between my soul and the Savior,” I trust that he will hear and answer my prayers in a way that will be best for me.
The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. – Psalm 145:18
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? – Luke 11:13
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. – John 14:14
Yet, in spite of my faith in God’s promises, I do yearn to sense – not just believe in – his presence, and I understand those that long for that sensation as well.
Addressing that point, Dr. Jeremiah shared the wisdom of author and speaker Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She focused on the following verse:
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. – Psalm 22:3
To dwell in the presence of God, she says, meditate upon and apply that verse. Praise and thank God, and you’ll get closer to his “address,” in the praises of his people – in your words of praise to God.