So this post is meant to help shed some light on one particular cliche that I have been hearing a lot lately that I absolutely hate. It is meant to be used as a form of encouragement, or perhaps to "shed light" on a situation in a person's spiritual life that has gone awry. I would like to apologize for the seemingly scatter brained state of this post, it is difficult to pen these ideas often times, but I am going to try.
Before diving into this subject I would like to put a disclaimer. One: there is a certain degree of truth to this statement, however it usually does more harm than good, which is why I want to address it. Two: I am in no way shape or form bashing those that have or do use this phrase to try and help those that they love. I understand that your heart is usually in the right place, but hopefully if you are reading this you will see that it really isn't doing any good.
The cliche' is, "God didn't go anywhere, where did you go?". Ok, first of all whoever you are saying this to is in some kind of spiritual slump. They are frustrated, maybe even depressed because there seems to be no real connection between their heart and God's. Maybe they have wandered out of His will and have no real idea what has happened. Saying this DOES NOT HELP! It only brings up more feelings of frustration and anger. Secondly, it has a great deal of implications that are completely theologically inaccurate. The first thing that it implies is that you can go somewhere that God cannot go. That somehow you are lost from the sight of God. It implies that God has stopped pursuing you. Yes, I do believe that we can be outside of God's will, and we can wander from that. Yes, we can dive into sin and let that sin put up a wall between us and God, but it doesn't mean that God isn't right there, hotly pursuing us through our circumstances to bring us back to Him. It paints God as a passive God, like God is sitting there just sort of waiting, twiddling his thumbs hoping that eventually we'll decide to turn around and come back to wherever it is that God "is waiting" for us. Also, this confuses the unchanging character of God for the unchanging location of God. God doesn't have a location, His Holy Spirit lives IN US! Therefore it doesn't matter where we go, where our heart goes, we take the Holy Spirit with us. We just aren't listening to Him, or have somehow forgotten what His voice sounds like.
The other problem that I have with this is that it places all of the responsibility on that person to get themselves right. It says that the only way to get back on track is to pull yourself up by your boot straps, start trying harder and then eventually things will get better. I have been in this position and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is a lie! The very desire to even desire the things of God and to "get back on track" comes from God!
Lastly, even if the above weren't an issue (and praise the Lord it's not true!) it offers no practical advice! What are you supposed to do with that information? I guess it is meant to prompt some soul searching, but chances are it's already been done. What they really need is some direction on WHERE to search. Show them how God is hotly pursuing them and pray against the enemy that is robbing them of their joy! So by all means, encourage and pray for the person, but don't be blinded into thinking that offering this bit of "advice" will actually help, nor is it wise.
That is all I have for now...