Before you ask God for a closer walk with Him you better be sure you really want it, because He might just give you what you asked for, but not necessarily the way you expect, or like for that matter! Usually when we think of drawing close to God we think 'mountain-top' experiences like being filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, or that lovely feeling you get when you're singing some worship songs at church. Whilst these are all good, I'm learning that actually, there are other ways God uses to draw us closer to Him. It's easy to feel close to God when you're in church singing with a bunch of other Christians, or when everything in your life seems to be going well. But there are times when stuff happens and it hits you like a ton of bricks. You're forced to ask yourself, 'do I really believe what I claim to believe?', 'Is this God real, like, for real?' At those times, going to church just doesn't cut it. Listening to sermons, being amongst other Christians, etc, might help, but you soon realise that you've got to dig deeper. Now, that's a real test of faith. I heard someone say that sometimes God doesn't speak in our moments of deepest insecurities, i.e. when you (think) you need Him the most. It can be hard. At this point, you have two choices- give up, or keep trusting. Actually, THAT's the real test of faith.
Most Christians would say that intimacy with God is something that they desire. But, I'm learning that some of us really don't know what that entails. Look at the Bible and study the lives of the men that were close to God. Check out Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, Daniel, etc. Abraham was called God's friend, David was a man after His own heart. But getting those titles did not come easy! Abraham spent donkey's years waiting for a child, and then faced the ultimate test of sacrifice. David spent a good part of his life running from his enemies. But it was so worth it in the end. They got to experience what real intimacy with God felt like. Oh and not to mention the blessings. I read somewhere that anytime you see a man or woman enjoying great success in God's kingdom, there's a good chance they've been through the valley of devastation, hurt and rejection. Hmmm...
The thing is, I don't think it gets easier.
But your faith muscles do get stronger.
So when I ask myself, 'how much do I really want this?' I can confidently say, 'Really badly', because the rewards are so worth it.
Oh, and I know I'm not going it alone...Deut 31 v 6, Isaiah 43 v 2.