When God Feels Distant.....
A lot of times you hear that God is running after you, but what if you feel you are chasing after Him and He is just silent? Like you have poured out every ounce of yourself into seeking Him, praying, being obedient and it’s like He has just vanished? Friend, I have been there many times. But it’s in those quiet valleys we find ourselves. Our strength. Our confidence. And our voice. If He showed up like a “genie in a bottle” every time to tell us what to do, grant us our wish, or bail us out, then it wouldn’t really be genuine, would it? We wouldn’t need to seek Him more or search for answers on a deeper level. God desires a real relationship with us and sometimes God wants to build us up, so when we get to those mountaintops, we can truly appreciate those view tops even more.
We won’t always know God’s reasons for why He does what He does. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts, “Isaiah 55:9. And truthfully it’s not our job to decipher and understand God’s choices, but to just continue to trust and obey, which is so hard when we feel like we could do it better at times. But, we have to remember, we only see such a very small piece of the puzzle and He sees the gigantic puzzle all put together. He is God and we are not.
And feelings are fickle. Very fickle. If we only did things based on feelings, well then most of us probably wouldn’t even go to work or “adult,” because let’s be real, it’s not always joyous and fun. But it’s part of life, just like serving God when we don’t feel like it. Being a Christian means worshipping Him, trusting Him, and obeying Him when most of the time we won’t necessarily feel it. And I think the devil will point that out to us with small whispers that say, “God doesn’t really care, “or “He is distant because He is disappointed in you,” “See you aren’t even worthy of God’s love and you might as well just give up and give in to what you want.” Those are the voices I’ve heard in the silence frequently. So, then maybe we keep busy to not feel that, but also push God away at times too.
Maybe you feel like every direction God is leading you is just a dead end? I have been there and am currently here. Where I feel like God is leading me one way, so I follow and put all my heart and soul in it, only for nothing to really transpire. And I’m going, “Seriously God, what was the point of that?” Did I mishear You?” And it’s frustrating and I find myself then doubting myself and questioning God. But, I remember that that’s what the devil wants:
confusion, doubt, distrust, discouragement, because then it leaves us stuck. So, I forge ahead, even if it maybe feels lonely sometimes, and keep fighting. It doesn’t always make sense. Life. But I also think as followers, we will suffer in ways He also suffered for us, so that we need and rely on Him fully through the twists and turns. “With joy, let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that distress, pressure, and trouble, produces patient endurance, proven character, spiritual maturity and hope and confident assurance of eternal salvation” Romans 5: 3-4.
I have found it's like a diet or a workout, you won’t always feel like working out or eating healthy, but when you do, you feel so much better. Small goals conquered. And it’s been the same with my relationship with God, that when I start my day, even with just five minutes of a devotional and prayer, I am a better woman for it. It pivots my perspective from myself and my woes, to my God and His grace and unconditional love. I try to soak in that for as long as I can, before all of life’s distractions and ambushes get in the way, and I have to remember the amazing encounters with God that keep me going in those more disconnected seasons. But, sometimes if I’m really honest, I feel nothing. Nothing. Zip. Or even annoyance or I’m just plain disgruntled that day, but I know it’s good for me, like a healthy lifestyle is, so I do it anyway. Then it’s almost like it compounds and all of sudden all those “hard workouts” pay off and I see God’s hand leading me the whole time. He was there the entire time. It was me that felt distanced from Him, but He has been there with me through every up and down and every curveball and every empty, dark day. “Do not be discouraged for the Lord is with you wherever you go” Matthew 6:34.
And remember His faithfulness in previous situations. Jesus has been faithful in the past and He will be faithful to you in the future. He has come through to provide at the 9th hour money for rent, or a job you weren’t sure you were going to get, or blessed you with something you prayed for. I focus on this when I feel far from God and my dreams and angst about the future. All He has done before. I saw it said “You once prayed for what you have today.” And that’s so true. My cozy one bedroom all to myself, I longed for when I lived with three other roommates. My cute red SUV that I eyed for forever before it become my own wheels. My sweet pup that I dreamed of loving on, became an amazing reality. The adorable salon I run my own business at and get to make my own schedule doing, felt like only a dream when I was rolling perm rods on a doll head in beauty school. It was all God. He is a good Father. Hold onto that.
So, press on friends. God is there and He cares more than you even know and goes beyond what we feel. Keep fighting. Keep seeking. “For the mountains may be removed and the hills make shake, But my lovingkindness will not be removed from you, Nor will My covenant of peace be shaken,” says the Lord who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10