There is an old Sesame Street cartoon where Grover illustrates Near and Far. Today I started to wonder about why God sees fit to at some times place us near to Him and at sometimes to place us far from Him (though none of this is meant to be an excuse for trying to be far from God, only to appreciate the goodness of His moving us through our lives).
First, we know it must glorify Him. But how does it do that? Although there are doubtlessly many reasons, I begin with four. 1) The return is always sweeter when there was distance prior to that. There is incredible grace in being given a closer relationship with God. If we moved only from far to near, how would we know the brillence of our progression? 2) The journey informs us of our dependence on God. Many people try to claim partial sovereignty in their lives – God does somethings but the person has to do other things apart from God. The experience of nearness and farness in our relationship with God shows us that we are completely dependent on Him, especially for salvation. 3) It is helpful in many things to stand back and admire the big picture which makes sense of all its pieces. When God puts us far from Him for a time, we have opportunity to admire Him and the value of being near to Him. That leads to our fourth thought. 4) Times of being far away give us insight into how it will be to dwell in final nearness to Jesus in heaven. Though we may be far away, we know the joy and peace of still being in Christ and praising Him because He has saved us from an end worse than farness – hell. And that instead we are drawn so close to Him, through Jesus Christ, as to be in His very family!