McMullen: Drifting away from God is a mistake

February 2, 2013


Such a nice word. Imagine drifting off to a peaceful sleep or drifting down a peaceful river. The idea of drifting can solicit all sorts of peaceful feelings. I remember drifting on Lake Ray Hubbard in Texas in a bass boat. The fluffy, summer clouds overhead, sunshine peeking through and the sound of an occasional wave slapping up against the hull of the boat. Drifting can be such a peaceful exercise.

I like drifting. But call me a drifter and Iíll probably be offended. Drifters are people with no direction. They go wherever the wind blows. Drifters have no focus, no purpose, no motivation, no calling and no direction. Drifters have no clear cut goals, ambitions, hopes or expectations.

To watch someone we love as they ďdriftĒ away can be one of the hardest things weíll ever experience. Some have to watch as their teenage kid drifts into the wrong crowd, drifting into a culture of drugs and sexuality. Others have to watch as their loved ones drift into a life of crime, jail, prison and violence. All of us will experience losing a loved one, listening as their breaths drift further and further apart, until finally they drift off to sleep for the last time. In these senses, drifting can be the hardest thing in the world to experience. Itís such a slow process, such a slow fade, such a painful thing to have to watch and witness.

To see otherwise healthy people drifting away from one another is equally difficult. Drifting is rarely intentional. Typically, something else starts getting in the way. We get so busy, preoccupied or excited about other things. We allow circumstances to dictate how we spend our lives. Sometimes weíre so busy that we forget to acknowledge those loved ones in our lives. We get so busy or preoccupied with other things that we end up neglecting our families, friends and relatives. Itís so rampant amongst American fathers that we have a nickname: deadbeat dads. I donít think that any man ever sets out with the hopes of not being there for his kid. Nevertheless, many are allowing themselves to drift away, a little further every day. There is no pain like that of watching a love one drift away Ö little by little.

Unfortunately, as a Christian minister, I have a front row seat to every one of these situations. Whatever the reason, itís never fun to watch. In the book of Hebrews, we are challenged to ďpay close attention to what we have heard (in Godís word and from Godís son), so that we do not drift away from it.Ē

The worst drift of all is our allowing ourselves to drift away from God. Unfortunately, this drift might be the root source of all other forms of drifting. Sometimes people donít realize that drifting away from God comes with a high price. This one relationship affects all your other relationships.

In some sense, our relationship with God is not different than our other relationships. God wants to speak to us. God wants to hear from us. God desires that we turn to Him with our cares, concerns and even our celebrations. If you are not doing things to move toward God, then I believe you are allowing yourself to drift away from God. Drifting away from God is a costly mistake in this life.

Try this. Drift off to a silent space. Carve out some time, say a word or two to the Father. Speak Godís name. Ask Godís advice. Listen. Allow your mind to drift into that moment and block everything out except that which is from above. Spend some time in prayer. Now, pick up a Bible and spend some time reading. Guess what? Youíve just taken some steps toward God. Guess what else? God has promised this, ďDraw near to me, and Iíll draw near to you.Ē

This is a pastorís column. So hereís the advice youíve come seeking. Sometimes we Christians call Jesus the ďRock.Ē Grab onto the Rock. Donít allow yourself to drift away from God. I think youíll be surprised how many of those other relationships will benefit from you being close to the Lord. Try it and see. What have you got to lose?

Chad McMullen