There are some Sundays when the music all seems to go together, the sermon is powerful and you feel so close to God like you could almost reach out and touch Him. The same could be said during times of prayer, or in a time of great need. There are times however when God does not feel as close. Perhaps the service just feels more dry than other services, or perhaps you feel like your prayers are getting no higher than the ceiling. There have been different times in my life when I have felt close to God, and there have been times in my life when I felt distant from God. This does not always have to be just an hour or a day. There have been periods in my life when I have felt distant from God for weeks or even months. If you have ever felt this same way, you might be wondering what can do, or what should I do? Fortunately the Bible speaks on this very issue. The person of Job felt distant from God for a period in his life. He suffered great loss, and his friends and wife were of no real help to him. He longed to be close to God, but God only appears in the beginning of the book of Job, and doesn't really make an appearance again till the end of the book. The Psalms are another example, on the one hand they expressed that there was no where one could go to get away from God, but then in other Psalms expressed a distance from God and longing for God to be active in life. It is comforting to know that even in scripture there are people who have felt similar things to us, and dealt with many of the same questions we've had. I want to offer some advice on this issue, seeing how I have experienced this distant from God in my own life. The 1st thing I would suggest would for the one to ask if they have fallen into a sinful lifestyle, or have some recurring sin, that has not been confessed nor repented of. While all of us still have a sinful nature and would be shamed if our all our thoughts and actions were put before us, there are still times when believers can fall into sinful lifestyles or have a particular sin that is not being properly dealt with by the believer. It could be a fantasies about a co-worker, or some unresolved bitterness towards a person. It could even be that one is lying more than they are telling the truth, and so many more sins. Whatever the sin may be, you have felt the Spirit convicting you of it, but as the sin goes unaddressed sin does what it always does which is it separates us from God. if this is the case then you should pray, and confess your sin to God, repent of it, and again put your trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of that sin. Focus on the what it took for God to forgive you of your sin, and concentrate on just how much God loves you. As you focus on the cross of Christ and understand that in that action and not by your actions that you are forgiven you might find that God again feels close. Let's say that this is not the case. The next situation is similar to that of Job, where although one is not perfect they regularly confess their sins, and put their trust in Christ, and strive to live a Christ like life every day loving God and neighbors. Yet God does not feel close for some reason. Here I would advise first going to God's word. We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, so when we read the scripture we understand that this is God speaking. This is not just a doctrinal statement in order to make our theology fit together all nice and neat, but it is a truth, a statement of reality that God, our creator, sustainer, and savior has revealed Himself to us in the words of each book in the cannon of scripture. So if one wishes to encounter God, then one need only go to the text. I would also suggest that one go to God in prayer as well. The scriptures is how God communicates with us, and prayer is how we communicate with God. Remember the parable of the old woman who wanted justice from the unjust judge, and understand how much more will God answer your prayers if you continue to pray to Him. It is okay to let God know that you feel distant from Him, and it is okay to ask for comfort for the Lord. In fact we are commanded to cast all of cares and worries to the Lord. Spending time in God's word and prayer is the believer's way of encountering God when the church has not gathered together. Finally it is also important to remember to not place too much emphasis on feelings. Our emotions are important, and serve as an important tool in daily lives, however in this era I believe we have given too much credit to our emotions making them the deciding factor in determining if something is true or not. How do I know it is right, well I feel that it is right. How do I know that I'm in love, well I feel in love. How I do know God is near, well I feel that God is near. By allowing our reality to be determined primarily by our emotions we put ourselves at the mercy of ever changing and sometimes irrational feelings. One does not need to always feel in love, to know that they love someone, and one need not always feel that God is close to know that He is. We can read in the scriptures and see that God is close, and put in our trust in the word of God, and not in the feelings of our heart. I have found in those times when I feel like God is distant that if I go to scriptures, and read about how God loves His people such as in Psalms 23, or if I read about the experiences of Paul in his letters, and the relationship he has with God and if I trust in the words of Jesus Christ that God loves me I find that in time my feelings soon follow what I know to be true. It is a tough time when you feel distant from God, and so this is also where a church family and pastor are also important resources to help you during through these feelings. Have you ever felt distant from God? How have you handled those times? Was this blog helpful to you? Comment below and let me know!
Here you can read various thoughts and discussions that come from the mind of our Pastor