It would be wonderful if every moment of a Christian’s life was filled with “feelings” of a close connection to God. We all long to hear Him speak directly to us and to see Him move throughout the ebb and flows of life. When we perceive His presence, we are comforted, reassured and strengthened. However, when His presence seems distant, we can become discouraged, worried and it can scare us into believing that God isn’t working in our lives at that moment. But is that true? Has God abandoned us, or is what we are experiencing a common occurrence in a Christian’s life?
If You’ve Felt Distance from God You Are Not Alone
The disciples endured a painful distance! I can’t imagine the fear and doubt they might have felt after Jesus’s crucifixion. The Bible tells us that “darkness fell across the whole land” (Matthew 27:45) as Jesus was preparing to take His last breath. The disciples were physically with Jesus…that’s pretty close! And now in His death it seemed impossible to be close to Him.
Then there’s King David, also known as “a man after God’s own heart” who felt far away from God too. He said, “O Lord, how long will you forget me?” (Psalm 13:1). He was desperate to hear from God and asked four times, “How long?” King David often thought that God was slow to act and maybe you’ve felt that way too. Right now I am facing a situation where God is quiet. I keep asking for direction on the next steps but instead of a voice saying, “go this way or that way” all I hear is silence.
Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Distressed and hopeless because your pleas to God have been met with silence? Now fear and worry are overwhelming you because God seems distant?
Regardless of How We Feel God is Actively Working!
It can be difficult to believe that God is working when crickets are the loudest noise we hear during our prayer time. That can leave us feeling hopeless and worried, and we might think God forgot about us. BUT nothing is further from the truth. Whether we feel inspired and uplifted or downcast and discouraged God is active! The Bible says, “But Jesus replied, ‘My Father is always working, and so am I” (John 5:17).
Always means forever, continually, constantly, repeatedly and invariably!
Did you hear that?! No matter how far from God we perceive ourselves to be He is still working. His efforts, purposes and plans are independent of our feelings. Think about the disciples who saw Jesus with their own eyes and then He was gone, and though it felt like Jesus was far away His purpose was always to bring them closer than they had ever experienced before. Whether we see Him or not, He is working for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We can choose not to worry during times of distance because we have confidence that God is always working!
But let’s be honest. Trusting God when we feel far away from Him is much harder then it sounds. However, from Psalm 13 we can learn three things King David did that will help us in our times of feeling distant from God.
Three Things to Do During Times of Distance
- Talk Over the Problem- Throughout the six verses of Psalm 13 King David pours his concerns out to God and he holds nothing back. His honesty and willingness to express his feelings to God gave him strength. Sometimes talking over a problem is all that we need to do. It helps us regain God’s perspective. We can pray to God anytime, but it is helpful to confide in a trusted friend too!
- Trust God Regardless of the Feelings of Distance– King David said, “But I trust in your unfailing love” (Psalm 13:5). “But” is the key word…though he hadn’t yet heard from God he decided to trust Him. We can do the same. In fact, this is my life’s motto, “I choose to trust God” because for me, trusting God has been difficult…especially in times when I can’t see what He is doing. We can boldly choose to trust God because His unfailing love will ever fail us. And when we make the choice trust Him, worry and fear begin to fade.
- Praise God for His Goodness– “I will sing to the Lord because He has been good to me” (Psalm 13:6). King David remembered what God had already done and he praised Him for it. Even when we feel distant from God we can look back and recount the blessings He has already bestowed upon us. By recounting God’s goodness and praising Him we take power away from the fear and worry we might be experiencing and our faith is strengthened. Praising God increases our faith and trust in Him and it just might make us feel closer to Him too!
God is Really Never Far Away from Us
God doesn’t always answer prayers according to our time table nor can we understand why we endure certain hardships, and those things may make us feel distant from God, but the truth is God is never far away. The Bible says, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20) and “I will never leave your nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). He is as close as whisper, and we are never out of His sight (Psalm 139:3). When we feel distant from God we can choose not to worry or be afraid because God is never distant from us!
JJ @ Chickening IN