For years I’ve thought that when I finally get to Machu Picchu I will somehow, for some reason, feel closer to God than I have before. I probably thought so because of the story I read in Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson about how the ancient Inca King found the truth of God without missionaries or the bible — he had eternity written in his heart and he led the people he governed to know this God as well. When I was on the mountain though, I felt nothing. Granted, it is just a mountain, I was very sick and just felt like sleeping and we didn’t spend a lot of time to sit and reflect but still, I didn’t feel a strong presence of God.
When we came down the mountain and found a pizzeria to eat at in the evening one of my friends was glowing, radiant with the light of Jesus because he had experienced something truly special with God on the mountain. I was very happy for him but there was also a twinge of jealousy in my heart, jealousy and confusion. Why did he feel it and I didn’t? I’ve been wrestling with that in the back of my mind since I got home but I came to terms with it now. Here’s what I came to:
I expected to experience God without a close relationship with him. My friend is closer to God than I am, and that is quite apparent. He has drawn near to God so God has drawn near to him and blessed him with his intimate presence. I’ve wanted the reward without the work of building a relationship.
I’ve felt empty because I haven’t put God where he belongs in my life; he’s there but he isn’t in his place. I sit in-front of my proverbial fireplace expecting to get warm as I throw kindling of a few prayers and praise songs into the flames but they only burn a little while before all is extinguished… Recently I’ve quit throwing even that much in so I’m left with ash. As I sit there in the dark and cold, the logs I need for roaring flames are right at my side and there I am just sitting, staring at them but never knowing their warmth. It’s time to build a fire.