On hard days, we wonder–where is God? We strain to hear the voice of love over the noise of our lives. But what if it is not that God is silent, but that we are distracted, allowing urgent but unimportant things to drown out the voice of love? What if the cause of our spiritual isolation is, ironically, the overcrowded lives we live?
When we are lost, Jesus seeks us out. And keeps issuing this invitation: “follow me.” He smiles, winsome, but challenging. Walk with me. But then, we have to choose. Will we follow? Will we move toward the voice of love that calls, that invites? If we choose not to, we should not be surprised when God seems distant. But the invitation is always there: follow.
Here’s an excerpt from my book Deeply Loved, on how following Jesus brings us into a deeper experience of love and connection.
Love consists, so often, in simply showing up. To be present with someone communicates far more than words. In a friend’s moment of grief or need, our presence is a far greater gift than anything we may bring or do, or even say.
Jesus is fully present with us, no matter where we go. The question is, do we acknowledge that presence? And do we, for lack of a better term, take advantage of it? Do we fully exploit and enjoy the fact that Jesus himself is nearby, looking at us with love? How would we live if we fully embraced this incredible truth at all times?
How do we gain that awareness? We can look to the example of disciples before us, beginning with the first-century laborers who dropped their nets and took off after this blue-collar rabbi they called Yeshua.
Jesus made it fairly simple, at least to start. He said, “follow me.”
The word follow, diluted by our culture, begs for a biblical definition. In English, you can follow the directions (or not), you can follow a sports team (by simply reading the paper or watching TV), you can “follow your bliss” (though that might not get you beyond yourself), you can “follow” someone on Twitter (even if you don’t actually know them).
When Jesus invited a group of first-century Jewish fishermen, a tax collector and political Zealots to follow him, he didn’t mean, “let’s just keep in touch.” He literally meant, “come with me, right now.” Live as I live. Learn a way of life and faith from me by watching.
Jesus still says to us today, “Follow me.” He never told us to gain a lot of knowledge about him, but rather, to be with him, to remain in him.
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