Sometimes it does feel like God is far away. It feels like prayers are unheard and reading the Bible feels unfulfilling. But is God really far away? And if not, why do we all experience a feeling of distance sometimes?
The answer to overcoming a perceived distance is to remember that it is based on feelings and feelings can lie to us. We must remember what we know to be true. Jesus has promised that He will never leave or forsake us (Heb 13:5).
It’s usually a circumstance, emotional struggle, confusion, or some other challenge or difficulty in one’s daily life that causes one to feel that God is far away. Continuing to seek God in prayer and reading the Bible, will increase one’s knowledge of His presence, and restore a closer communion with Him.
When we feel something that is not true (like God is distant), we must return to the truths of the Bible, for we know God’s Words are true and steadfast. Remember what Martin Luther said:
Feelings come and feelings go,
and feelings are deceiving.
My warrant is the Word of God,
naught else is worth believing.
Overcoming the Feeling of Distance
As God has told us, we are to live by faith (Hab 2:4, Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38). So how does one do that when one feels distant from God? There are three simple steps that will help to reignite the feeling of God’s presence:
- Trust: Knowing that God is present (Matt 28:20), even if you don’t feel His presence.
- Seek God: In prayer (Mat 11:28), pour out your heart, knowing that He hears the prayers of His children and He does respond (1 Pet 3:12).
- Renew your mind: Read the Bible. As Luther said, “naught else is worth believing.” In the Bible, you will find assurance that will instill in you a confidence that God is ever-present (Matt 28:20), that union with Him can never be broken (John 10:28-29), and that communion with Him, when perceived to be distant, is not broken and can be restored.
Be steadfast in seeking and trusting God, and reading His Word. Begin today by reading some of the promises God made to His people in ancient times, knowing that these promises hold true for you also.
- Josh 1:9 …Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
- Deut 31:6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
- Psa 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
- Isa 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
- Isa 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…
- Zep 3:17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
- Mat 28:20 …lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
- Heb 13:5 …He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake
The apostle James says to “draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). Because God is already near (He is omnipresent), this means that when we draw near to God we will be blessed by feeling His presence, His love, His grace, and all the other good and perfect gifts from the Father of Lights (James 1:17).
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