I am a disciple of seven years. As I have gotten older, and particularly
while in college, I have had a harder time holding onto my faith in God.
Sometimes, I just feel like God should be more concrete than he seems to
me. Could you help me come up with a plan/timeline on what I should do to
climb back into the lap of God? I want to have a strong faith but it just
has not been there for a while. I don’t see myself as a cynic but just as
someone who wants a deep relationship but is having trouble believing this
is possible. I realize you cannot do it for me but any help would be of a
great benefit. Thanks.

Let me recommend a book which has helped me recently. It is Worship the
King by Henry Kreite. It is available at www.dpibooks.org. This book has
helped me to refocus myself on worshiping God, and not just being
religious. As you hint in your question, I will not be able to give you a
magic formula which will help you to get your relationship with God going
and exciting again. One generic suggestion is to compare your relationship
with God to a marriage. In the honeymoon stage, everything is exciting and
new and fun. It is easy to get and stay motivated. However, in the months
and years which follow, the true depth of love and emotion are tested. For
a marriage to stay strong, work and commitment on the part of both spouses
is required. The spark will not stay alive on its own. In fact, the
natural tendency in most or all marriages is to drift into a lack of
appreciation and a lack of excitement. Constant work, focus and attention
are required to build a lasting, close, meaningful and exciting marriage

The same is true of a relationship with God. Work, focus, and attention
are required to keep a vibrant and life-giving relationship with God. What
makes it even harder with our relationship with God (compared to a
marriage) is that we cannot see or touch God–at least not directly. For
this reason, perhaps even more energy is required to keep us feeling
emotionally and mentally close to God. I would suggest that one good
example in the Bible is David. You could spend some time contemplating
such Psalms as Ps 119, 24, 42, 51, 73 (Asaph), 84,107,139 and others may
help you see the heart you need to have.

The key, in the end, will probably not be a formula from me or anyone
else. It will require a commitment of your heart, soul, mind and strength
to put all distraction aside and pursue a relationship with God.
Thankfully we have the promise in Jeremiah 29:13 that “You will seek me
and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,
declares he Lord.” The secret is a dogged determination to seek God with
all your heart.

John Oakes, PhD

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