What do you do when God seems far away from you?
To answer this question, please read the three following parables:
Parable of the lost sheep
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:4-7
Parable of the lost coin.
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10.
Parable of the lost son:
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
So they began to celebrate. Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” Luke 15:11-32.
All three parables have one theme in common: It is not God that is far away from the sinner, but it is the sinner who is far away from God. It is not the Shepherd that wandered away from that sheep, but the sheep that decided to wander away and get lost. It is not the Father who decided to abandon His son to the attractions of this world, but the son who decided to wander away and try the fruits of sinfulness.
God is always there for us. It is us who wander away and experience the emptiness of being far away from God. God will NEVER abandon us! We are TOO PRECIOUS in His eyes!
Then why do we sometimes feel that God is so far away from us? It is simple: our sins makes us feel that separation. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isa 59:2.
What can you do about this? It’s simple. Like the prodigal son, you must come back to your Heavenly Father. Accept Him in your heart. Open the doors of your heart to Him who wants your true happiness. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Rev 3:20.
Jesus will continue to knock on the doors of your heart until you let Him in. Don’t do like the many who are blinded by the worldly attractions. True happiness can only be found through our Lord and Savior. Would you like to find true peace and happiness? You won’t find that in the world. Accept Jesus’ invitation! He is the only one who can truly lead you to that inner peace and happiness. He cares for you!
When God feels distant to me…….I pray hard and for a long time. Hours and hours. I think that when God is distant from me it is like the devil trying to make me stop believing in God. I try to keep focused and pray and talk to people about God and how I feel. That always helps me.
When we are in that valley, and feel that God is far away, that’s just what it is, a feeling. God is always here for us, carrying us, watching over us, fighting for us, and listening to His Son who talks to Him for us. We have to fight that feeling of abandonment, and believe by faith, that our Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. Things will be done for us, but in His time, and sometimes not always the way we want.
If God is far away from me, I KNOW He did not move, but I go STRAIGHT to His Directional pages for help (my own private 911)………… I read the BIBLE!
I find myself far away from God, in my prayer life. So what I have found is that by reading a good portion of the Bible, everyday, takes the place of prayer-until prayers start getting answered again. By reading the Word, “it gives health to all thy flesh”, and “I come to you young men because you are strong, and the word of God abideth in you”.
I’ve been in this place when God seems to be so far away. I just keep praying. I don’t give up even when I feel like giving up. I just pray harder. Sometimes His answer is no, but I realize that whatever I’m asking for must not be what God thinks is in my best interests.
What do you do when God seems far away from you? Here is a little story I rather like.
One night I had a dream.
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with God. and across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonged to me, the other to God.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of life, there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life. This really bothered me and I questioned God about it.
“God, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk with me all the way, but I noticed that during the most troublesome time in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why in the times when I needed you most, you would leave me.”
God replied. “My precious precious child, I love you and I would never never leave you during your times of trials and suffering. When you see only one set of footprints it was then that I carried you.”
Rather than quote various bible texts I thought this time a personal testimony would suffice.
In my own experience it is common for all Christians to have periods in their life where God seems far away. I think this is more true when we are successful and a bit puffed up with our own importance. At times like this I would always tend to rely on my own knowledge and strength and resources.
I made decisions a number of times to uproot my family and move from one town to another chasing promotion in my career. Invariably this caused great stress for both me and my family – buying and selling of houses, changing schools, making new friends, finding a new doctor, new clothes for climatic changes, new equipment for recreational pursuits, getting to know the support infrastructure in the new town/city….the list goes on.
Invariably too would come other problems causing stress. The main one for me was the buying and selling of houses. I was not in a good enough financial position to buy before I sold. It seemed there was always a problem with selling so that I finished up taking a loss on the old house and being behind the eight ball when buying. It usually finished up that I would have been financially better off to have just stayed where I was- even with the promotion. Others that were content to stay in one place have all finished up better off than me, financially secure in a job they can do well and easily. I finished up in a high stress management position and broke.
It was during these times of trouble brought on by my own ambition and maneuvering that God seemed more at a distance. Then I would get into trouble and in desperation seek His assistance. Only when I admitted that I had once again made a mess of things and asked God for help did things fall into place. We would pick up a suitable house at a bargain price and I would vow to never again put us in such a vulnerable position. But I did.
My whole Christian walk seems like a series of events with me heading off on my own and God letting me get into trouble to teach me a lesson and then coming to my aid. I guess you could say that pride, ambition and a lack of humility, combined in my life to create those situations when God seemed far away.
It is important to understand that it is not God that moves away from us, but us that move away from God. When this happens we can rely on Him to chasten us and bring us back. It is uncomfortable being distant from God – but that is just an illusion. It is at these times when He is carrying us – we are just not aware of it at the time.
Always remember it is not what we do that gets us to heaven, it is what Jesus did. He has promised to guide and teach us, chasten us, develop us as Christians (sanctification), and finally to lead us through the gates of the Holy City. Once we are His no one can pluck us from his hand while ever we want to remain there.
I have been an Adventist Christian all my life, but also suffered from major depression. I eventually found medication for the depression, but the cure for my spiritual pain – the feeling that God seemed far away – came from the Bible.
On the advice of a wise Christian friend, I got a Bible marking pen, in a new color I had not used before in this Bible, and began reading the Bible through, prayerfully, looking for and marking the texts that spoke to my heart saying God loves me, personally. Not only is the initial reading often a spiritual high, but that Bible has become a treasure of assurance. Whatever the seemings, my Bible assures me God is never far away.
What do I do when God seems far away. I praise God until I feel Him near again. Sometimes it is instantly and sometimes it is days. But until I feel Him near I praise the Lord with all my soul!!!!!!!