“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” - Ephesians 2:13
This summer, God taught me a lot. However, the main thing He taught me was about His nearness.
Going into the summer, I felt closer to God than ever before. I was coming off of my "Greatest Spiritual Year". I had moved back to Berlin and gotten involved at CrossWay as a youth leader. I had many positive, spiritual influences. I was learning to disciple teenagers. Those are the main factors, I believe, that God used to make me feel closer to Him than ever.
However, when I arrived in the U.S., it felt as if God disappeared. I was put into a completely new community which was a solid Christian community, but it was made up of people that I didn’t know or trust yet. Looking back, I’m sure that just being in a new setting was what made me feel alone and distant from God.
The first few weeks in that new community, my prayers and quiet times just felt empty. I found myself trying to earn God’s love and nearness. God reminded me though, that His love and salvation are not things that we can earn.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” - Ephesians 2:8-9
None of our actions can save us and the same goes for trying to earn God’s love. None of the things we do can ever help us obtain God’s love. God’s salvation and love are gifts, not based on our merit or works.
A few weeks into the summer, a theme was introduced to the mission team with which I was working. That theme was "NEAR". I think I chuckled a bit when I heard that because of how distant I felt from God in that month. As I started getting more comfortable in America, things started to change. Every week we started to have talks and discussions on God always being near. God used all of those talks to remind me that I am broken and that this is a fallen world. My flesh may deceive me, and I may start believing lies about myself that can lead to me feeling distant from God even when He is walking with me at every moment. God reminded me that there will be highs and many lows on this earth, but through all of that, we must remember that He is ALWAYS NEAR to us. He will be with us till the very end.
Blog by Alex Schoell of CrossWay International Baptist Church.
Published on 24. August 2021 from Berlin, Germany.
Photo by OC Gonzalez on Unsplash.