Found and re-created by God
"Starting from scratch God made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn't play hide and seek with us. He's not remote, he's near."
How amazing is it friends that God is not hiding from us, but in contrast, he is actually pursuing us.
I don't know if you've ever felt far away from God. Maybe you felt like despite your searching, despite your efforts, you didn't have a close relationship with God. Or maybe despite prayer and Bible reading, you didn't feel God's presence. That's a really hard place to be friends when you don't "feel" close to God. You may be caught up in feelings of sin and shame or darkness, you may feel indifferent to God's work in your life or around you.
I want to encourage you not to rely on your feelings, but to look to the Word of God to teach us about God's character of love and His passion for creation and redemption. The Bible teaches us that in our sinful flesh, we will be filled with darkness, enslaved by addictions and temptations of this world. We may feel "void and empty, dark inside" which are the very words God uses at the beginning of Creation in Genesis 1:2.
But remember Creation when God said "Let there be light and there was light." God did that- He created something good and finished that work. In John 1 verse 4 John tells the Creation story again but in redemptive terms about how Jesus was the life and light for us to find healing and overcome darkness. In the New Testament, we learn about how God wants to bring us light and life into our dark hearts and souls and re-create a good finished work in us. God wants us to be close to Him and to be a new creation in Him.
God wants us to be close to Him. He is pursuing us. God wants to make us into a new creation. So when you are struggling with your doubts and guilt, remember God is battling for your heart. And we don't have to strive and fight against our flesh alone...
We don't have to strive on our own trying to win God's love or fondness. Isaiah 64:6 says our righteousness are like filthy rags... we can try to win God's favor and approval but we can never achieve righteousness or closeness to God on our own. In contrast Ephesians 2:10 says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God... For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
It is a gift friends, God's creation of us AND His RE-CREATION of us is a gift. It is offered for free to us, if we choose to accept it and have faith to believe in Him and His creative and redemptive power.
In fact friends, so often it is only our sin and blindness that separates us from seeing and feeling His love for us. It is our shame that separates us from feeling His presence. Just like Adam and Eve, after they sinned in the garden, we may wonder why we don't feel God, when really we are the ones in hiding. God is the one pursuing us. He wants us. He wants our hearts.
Jeremiah 29:13 and 14 says "You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all you heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore you from captivity and gather you from all the nations and places to which I have banished you declares the Lord."
Salvation is spoke about in the Bible in Creation language. David's prayer in Psalms 51 says "Create in me a pure heart, Oh God and renew a steadfast spirit within me... Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me." Creation was something God did; just like redemption is something that God offers us because of Jesus. God wants to re-create us, he finds joy in saving us and knowing us.
If you are feeling far away from God today, confess your feelings to God and spend time in His Word. Ask God to give you the Holy Spirit to live inside of you and surrender your life to His love. Ask God to use His power to remake you into the person He wants to make you and to use you the way He wants to use you.
"Jesus loves to have us come to him just as we are, sinful, helpless, dependent. We may come with all our weakness, our folly, our sinfulness, and fall at his feet in penitence. It is His glory to encircle us in the arms of His love to bind up our wounds, to cleanse us from all iniquity. His thoughts are thoughts of mercy, love, and tenderest compassion." (Steps to Christ p 26). God is waiting for us to run to Him and He is full of loving thoughts and acceptance towards us just the way we are right now.