I hate it.
I mean, I really hate it.
Physical distance, emotional distance, geographical distance, even theological distance. These are the things that keep us from intimacy, from love, from knowing and caring and doing for one another.
So many things in life drive us apart, break our fellowship and our unity in big ways and small. Children grow up without knowing their grandparents or their cousins. Time is lost, and relationships with it. It seems as though these things will never be restored. What does God mean about giving back the years of the locusts? When the pain is in the now, eternity seems a whimsy, too far off to carry weight, and within that thought we see yet another curse of distance.
Leaden hearts weighing down our lungs, we sometimes try to breach distances, while other times we just give up, defeated, because it is too hard to work out the schedule, the money and the tolls on energy and health that result from long journeys.
I hate being far from people I love. I don't think this is a sin, no more than hating cancer or car accidents or earthquakes or violent crime. God allows all these things into various people's lives at particular times, for particular reasons. We have to accept and trust, but we don't have to like the tragedy.
Admittedly, there are times when you can appreciate a bit of space. Being quiet and participating in periods of solitude are healing to a burdened soul.
Solitude and isolation are not the same thing. Neither are space and distance. Perhaps the difference is whether you choose it, or whether it is forced on you against your will.
Then, of course, you have to consider the sovereignty of God, and surrender to what He gives you. But if distance is a result of the fall, the curse of sin, at least there must be hope that one day distance--like disease, war, fear and grief--will no longer plague our weary hearts.
God places the lonely in families...
(from Psalm 68:6, NLT)
Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
I will gather you and your children
from east and west.
(Isaiah 43:5, NLT)
On that day I will gather you together
and bring you home again.
(from Zephaniah 3:20, NLT)
I will bring them home again
to live safely in Jerusalem.
They will be my people,
and I will be faithful and just toward them
as their God.
(Zechariah 8:8, NLT)
And this most beautiful story:
So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
(Ruth 4:13-17, ESV)
God is near to us. He is near to all who call on Him in truth. He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those whose spirits are crushed. He promises never to leave us nor forsake us. God made us and placed us in this world, into time and space, in various places at specific times so that we would seek Him, grope our way towards Him, and yet He is not far away from any of us.
God is near. He is not far. He wants to gather us together under His soft, feathery wings and shelter us, care for us, comfort us, restore us.
And he who was seated on the throne said,
“Behold, I am making all things new.”
(from Revelation 21:5, ESV)