If I were to attempt to put my finger on my biggest problem in life, it would not be a money problem or a physical problem. It wouldn’t be a problem at work or problems with my social life. Don’t get me wrong, all of these areas of my life are problematic. But I think my biggest problem at this point in my life is a spiritual problem. More specifically, I believe I have lost my passion for God.
It’s not that I have turned away from God completely, or that I have lost my faith. I still have faith, and I still love God, but I no longer have a deep, ardent passion for the things of God like I once did. I’ve been in church for a majority of my life, and I’m afraid that I have fallen into the trap of rituals and familiarity. I can go to church and think very little of God, much less worship Him. And this bothers me greatly, as well it should.
My Bible study today, in discussing God’s love and our worship of Him, made this statement:
“Ritual sometimes has a tendency to get away from the truth it was formed to emphasize.” (Love, Calvin Miller)
This is so true. The very acts of worship that at one time were vibrant and new to me, and which I took part in as a way to connect with the God of the Universe, ended up becoming habitual and routine. My study went on to use the example from Joel 2:12-13:
“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (Emphasis added)
The author of the study points out that Israel had a ritual for tearing their clothes in times of mourning, but it had become just that – ritual. When they sinned against God, they tore their clothes out of habit or because they were expected to, and they no longer felt the emotions that came along with the expected mourning. The author comments that “God had become a theological dicussion in Israel. They could talk about Him for hours and never feel a thing for him.”
This line hit me hard. This describes me. I can write blog post after blog post about God, but my passion for Him is virtually non-existent. This is very wrong, yet I’m not sure what to do…
The end of today’s study quoted a verse from a hymn that I had not heard before. The hymn is titled The Love of God, written by Frederick M. Lehman, and it’s quite beautiful:
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Tho stretched from sky to sky.
God loves us so much – His love is endless, and couldn’t be written about even if the oceans were the ink and the skies were the paper we wrote it on. That’s a lot of love! It’s hard to think that anyone could turn their back on that love, yet many have. I have. And I pray that God will forgive me, and that He will show me how to rekindle the passion for Him I once had, and even more.