How can I feel close to God?
Originally appeared online in the teen series: Q&A - March 26, 2019
Q: I feel like God is so far away. How can I understand and know God so I can feel close to Him, Her?
A: I, too, longed to feel a closer, warmer sense of God’s presence. Sure, I knew and loved the many names for God that I’d learned from studying Christian Science: Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle. But I craved something more. I was missing an up-close-and-personal feeling about God. I wanted something less airy-fairy and more tangible than just believing in God.
Then a friend shared with me that God was her best friend. She felt very tangibly that He was with her all the time—in the car, at the grocery store. She was describing exactly what I was looking for.
I wanted more than an intellectual knowledge of the Divine; my heart was yearning to know God.
So I started praying. Every day for a couple of weeks I asked God—no, actually, I begged God—to show me what this wonderful, all-loving God-presence was. I wanted more than an intellectual knowledge of the Divine; my heart was yearning to know God.
Well, guess what? My prayers were answered in an amazing and unexpected way. One day, I was praying for someone who lived a thousand miles away. I was wishing I could be geographically closer to this person, because I was concerned about him, when all of a sudden I heard God talking to me. Out loud. This is what I heard: “He (my friend) is My child. I will take good care of him.” God’s love and care were so tangibly clear to me in that moment that I found that tears were streaming down my face.
This moment was a game changer in my life. I “got” God in an experiential way—completely different from what I’d known before. All that I already knew about God was important, but now I felt God in a way that profoundly moved me.
There are a few important things about experiencing God. Maybe most crucial is the desire to know God. I mean to really yearn in our innermost being to feel the divine presence. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Desire is prayer; ...” (p. 1). My experience taught me that the heart’s true desire to experience God, to know God deeply, is answered—and in a way that’s so individual and wonderful for each one of us.
Since that moment, I have made a habit of asking God to show me more of what He, She is. My prayers go something like this: “Show me what it means for You to be my Father, my Mother. What it means to be Your child. Teach me more about Your glory. Show me You.” And so on.
In fact, when I drive into town each day (six miles of country landscape), I ask God to “strut Your stuff!” Then I look for evidence of God’s beauty, grandeur, and glory. Each day there is something that gives wings to my thoughts. Maybe a wildflower, a soaring hawk, or even some deer. These point to the magnificence of God and His creation. So my second important point is to be alert to, and expect to experience, God in your life—not just in the big moments, but in the small ones, too. Since God is omnipresent, we can count on the fact that He is here—everywhere—ready to be seen and felt.
Number three is to be grateful for every speck of God seen and experienced. Gratitude is a “feel” rather than a “think.” It is a heart thing that actually opens us up more to the presence of divine goodness. It also lifts our thoughts from absorption in the negative aspects of everyday life and infuses us with God-inspired joy.
While I haven’t actually heard God speak out loud to me since that amazing moment, I have consistently felt the nearness and dearness of God’s love and care. It’s an exquisitely beautiful thing. And this feeling of closeness to God is possible for each of us. It’s right here, right now, waiting for you! Go for it!