WHEN GOD SEEMS DISTANT
The LORD has hidden Himself from His people, but I trust Him and place my hope in Him. Isaiah 8:17 (TEV)
God is real, no matter how we may feel at times.
It is easy to worship God when things are going great in our lives—when He has provided food, friends, family, health and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. How do we worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?
The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking Him during a trail or a tragic event, trusting Him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving Him when He seems distant.
Friendships are often tested by separation and silence; you are divided by physical distance or you are unable to talk.
In our relationship with God, we won’t always feel close to Him. There are times when it feels as if God has abandoned or forgotten us.
Besides Jesus, David probably had the closet relationship with God. Yet he frequently complained of God’s apparent absence: Why do you hide when I need you the most? (Psalms 10:1, LB). Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain distant from me? Why do you ignore my cries for help? (Psalms 22:1, NLT).
Of course, God hadn’t really left David, and He doesn’t leave us. He has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
But God has not promised “you will always feel my presence.”
Personally, there are times when God appears to be missing in action in my life.
Floyd McClung describes it: “You wake up in one morning and all your spiritual feelings are gone. You pray, but nothing happens. You rebuke the devil, but it doesn’t change anything. You go through spiritual exercises… you have your friends pray for you… you confess every sin you can imagine, and then go around asking for forgiveness of everyone you know. You fast… still nothing. You begin to wonder what I did wrong. You wonder how long this spiritual gloom might last. Days? Weeks? Months? Will it ever end?… It feels as if your prayers simply bounce off the ceiling. In utter desperation you cry out, ‘What is the matter with me?’”
Every Christian goes through it at least once, and usually several times.
It is painful and disconcerting, but it is absolutely vital for development of our faith, the testing and maturing of our friendship with God.
When God seem distant, we may feel that He is angry with us or is disciplining us for some sin. This feeling sometimes has nothing to do with sin.
It is a test of faith and loyalty: Will we continue to love, trust, obey, serve and worship God, even when we have no sense of His presence or visible evidence of His work in our life?
The most common mistake Christians (including me) make in worship today is seeking an experience rather than seeking God. We look for feelings, and if it happens, we conclude that we have worshiped.
Wrong! In fact, sometimes God often removes our feelings so we won’t depend on them. Seeking a feeling, even the feeling of closeness to Christ, is not worship.
When we were baby Christians, God gave us a lot of confirming emotions and often answers the most immature, self-centered prayers—so we’ll know He exists. But as we grow in faith, He will wean us of these dependencies.
God is always present, even when we’re not aware of Him, and His presence is too profound to be measured by mere emotions.
Yes, He wants us to sense His presence, but He’s more concerned that we trust Him than that we feel Him. Faith, not feelings pleases God.
The situations that will stretch our faith most will be those times when life falls apart and God is nowhere to be found.
This happened to Job—on a single day, he lost everything, and more discouraging- for thirty-seven chapters, God said nothing!
How do you praise God when you don’t understand what’s happening in your life and God is silent?
How do stay connected in a crisis without communication?
How do you keep your eyes on Jesus when they are full of tears? How do you continue serving God when nothing seems to work in your life, yet you’ve been faithful?
How do you witness to another—saying “God is good” when you have not seen an inch of that goodness in your life?
How do you react when God seems distant?
I write this post out of my present situation, this is not the first time I’m facing this spiritual dryness but I usually mess it up (like going the whole period without studying or praying). As much as the questions above are for personal reflections; Please friends, I will like to get your sincere comments, contribution or advice either here or through email. Thank you