When God seems unreal

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:7

Sometimes God seems unreal, remote, theoretical.  When that is so, there is always a reason.  God is in fact real.  So are we.  That it doesn’t seem so demands an explanation.

The problem might be intellectual in nature.  We might have doubts.  God wants to satisfy our honest doubts with reasonable assurances.  God loves our minds.  He made our minds to know him.  So this barrier to reality with God is significant but surmountable.

The primary problem might be more personal in nature.  1 John 1:7 says that God is “in the light.”  The light is where God locates himself.  It’s where he has made himself findable.  If we want him, it’s where we need to go — out into the light, where God already is, waiting for us.

To “walk in the light,” in the context of 1 John chapter 1, is an honest relationship with God and with one another.  Honesty about our sins and failings and weaknesses and shortcomings.  No denial.  No sweeping the past under the rug.  No evasion.  But stepping out from the shadows of denial into the light of honesty.  It’s humbling, even painful, to face ourselves in this way.  But owning up is how we get free from our need to be impressive, and how we experience the comfort of being truly known and forgiven and connected.  Walking in the light might make us feel exposed, vulnerable and embarrassed — initially.  But entire openness to God about who we really are and what we have really done is where God becomes real again.  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light . . . .”

And the wonderful blessings God has for us out there in the light are two-fold: one, deeper fellowship with one another, as the walls fall down and we discover how much we have in common and the sympathy flows back and forth as never before; two, cleansing by the blood of Jesus his Son, as he frees us from long-standing sins by the mighty power of his finished work on the cross.

When we get real, we find that God is real.