A Layman’s Thoughts About Three Words (Psalms 63)

A Layman’s Thoughts About Three Words (Psalms 63)

“So Far Away”

This is actually the name of a song by the Christian Rock band Red. If you have never hear the song, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4GawxzRscE

But here are the lyrics if you just like to read:

I am right here with You; I couldn’t more close; Pretending that I’m in this moment; When I’m only a ghost

I listen to the words You’re saying; Words I’m fighting to believe; It’s like I’m living from a distance; When You’re out of reach

Remember when you found me drowning; You pulled me from the deepest end; I promised that I’ll never leave You; Now I’m drowning again

It’s killing me with every breath, Witnessing the life I lived; Only You know who I am; I’m reaching out my hand

I wanna feel it when I mean it when I say it; Can You hear me at all

And I feel so far away, far away from everything
Outside wondering when I got lost
I threw my arms up in the air, why do I disappear
How can Your love be so close
When I’m so far away

And I don’t wanna waste time
Living a half life
Are You listening
Now give it back to me
I remember everything
The way it used to be
You give it back to me
I hear your voice
But inside I’m lost

The phrase “How can your love be so close when I’m so far away” is so descriptive of where all of us Christians can be at times. But why? Why do we get to a point that we feel “so far away” from God if we are saved through faith in Jesus? When we are reconciled to God through the Blood of Christ’s death and resurrection, and we are actively in communion with Him who saved us, we are always in the presence of Christ.  If we are His people, how then can we say we feel so far away from Him at times?

Consider the Psalmist David’s supplication:

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water. (Psalms 63:1)

David prays humbly and earnestly for God to quench his thirst, saying everything in him yearns for God. How then did David get to the point of this perspective? He was most likely running from his son Absalom when he wrote this Psalm, during which his son led an insurrection against his throne. How easy David would have fallen into despair, could he possibly say he also felt so far away from God too? If so, how could he be brought to say “My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You”? How could he go on to write “Because your love is better than life” (Psalms 63:3)?

Man, being created in the image of God but damaged by his rebellion, now contains the vestiges of the spirit that God breathed in us (Genesis 2:7). In sin, we now stand as disfigured images of Him who made us. What we have become is an empty vessel that need to be filled by something, since we cannot fill the void, no matter how much we try. In our sin and brokenness, we strive to fill ourselves with anything, but unsuccessfully find no comfort. Then Christ steps on the scene, and those that God called find that they must be reconfigured into the likeness of Christ and be filled by the Holy Spirit.(1 Corinthians 3:16, Acts 2:4). To be filled fully by God is to lack nothing, even to the point that we are no longer under the power of God’s law (Galatians 5:18). Only when we allow ourselves to be filled less than 100 percent by the Holy Spirit are we inviting divided loyalties, with the added bonus of uncertainty and fear, which comes only from the father of lies.

God has set His affections on us. He wants our good and wants our affection. Zealously following and serving Jesus and His purpose in our lives will produce fruit by being conformed to Christ and being filled by the Holy Spirit to overflow. Commit to this, and we won’t be feeling so far away, but instead despising sin and working actively with Jesus to clean out the locked closets in our heart without guilt. When we fall, Jesus does not stand in condemnation, but in love, whispers to draw our attention back to Him wherever we are. Going back to the chorus of the song from the band Red:

“And I feel so far away, far away from everything
Outside wondering when I got lost
I threw my arms up in the air, why do I disappear
How can your love be so close
When I’m so far away”

The writer wonders at what point he got confused and turned around and lost sight of Jesus. Then the writer begins to worship Christ and he experiences Christ’s love immediately, but still feels like something is still missing from his commitment to Christ. God knows we aren’t perfect. He already died once and for all for us and he gave us a new spirit when we accepted Him. For by grace we have been saved through faith, not by works… (Ephesians 2:8-9). He wants to conform us to His image of a servant and peacemaker. He still stands with us, even if we don’t “feel” like He is. It reminds us that our flesh and the powers of Satan can really play tricks on us and we need to rely on His promises, pray fervently and ask for the Holy Spirit to pour out on us.

We can think of it another way… when we feel far away from Christ, it is only the lack of spiritual sight and sound that dulls Christ’s calling. It is when our attention is redirected to the voice of selfishness that gives the illusion to separation. If we could stand back from ourselves in the spirit, we would see that in spite of our perceived separation, Christ still has His arms securely wrapped around us, and no power of flesh, authorities and powers of this dark world can separate (Ephesians 6:12).

So we now strive to put our bodies under submission (1 Corinthians 9:27) by directing our thoughts to prayer by faith (Romans 12:2), welcome the Holy Spirit to pour out on us (Galatians 5:16–23) and work toward the things of God. “… for faith without works is dead…” (James 2:26).