The other night, I was putting my daughters down to bed, and my oldest girl said, “Daddy, can you stay in here for a few minutes?”
“It’s getting late,” I said, “and you need to go to sleep.”
“Daddy,” she said, looking like she was going to cry, “I missed you all day at school, but I didn’t realize it until now.”
I couldn’t help but stick around a little longer before saying goodnight, and part of the reason was because I could relate to her so well.
Our conversation took me back to a 2008 work trip in Birmingham, Alabama. While I was in there, I visited Church of the Highlands, where a couple of friends are pastors. During the service, we were singing, and God’s kindness towards me became so real. I unexpectedly got choked up and could hardly sing. Finally, I prayed this simple prayer: “Jesus, I miss You,” and then the tears started rolling down my face as I realized how far away I felt from Him. I don’t doubt that the Holy Spirit is always inside me, but that time of corporate worship helped me remember just how near He is.
Church services aren’t the only thing that opens a space in my heart to connect with God when I feel distant from Him. The other morning, I sat on my porch and made up a couple of tunes that I sang to the words of Psalm 23 and 24. Other people meet with Him in perfect stillness, in a good conversation with someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit, or in a walk through the woods.
Whatever helps you experience Jesus for who He really is, I encourage you to set aside some time today and open up to Him. And even if you don’t know how to connect with Him, at least acknowledge that it has been a long time and consider praying a simple prayer like, “Jesus, I miss You.”
In the stillness, I bet He will respond, “I miss you, too.”