Why does God seem far away? When I struggle with this feeling one question that I ask myself is, “Do I think God’s presence must be super sensational?” Am I looking for a quiver in my liver? Or for lighting to strike or something big or am I missing God’s gentle whisper? I wrote about this in the last post.
A second question that I ask myself, is …
- Am I distracted?
God is with me, but there are times that I get so busy that I’m distracted and cannot experience Him.
The story of Jesus friends, Mary and Martha illustrates this truth well.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Luke 10:38-40
Jesus was right there and yet, she was distracted and missed the moment of enjoying His presence.
We can be distracted by so many things today. Do you know that someone that can’t go four minutes without updating their Facebook status? Are you that someone? They are like, “Oh hang on, status update: I just went to the restroom!” As if the whole world needs to know! And they must keep checking on everyone else’s world, or every news story or every celebrity or sporting event. Then we are bombarded by thousands of marketing ads and people spending millions of dollars to make us feel like we are missing out and we believe them!
We over schedule ourselves: “I’ve got to get the kids to soccer and the other ones to dance!” and “We’re out of eggs at the house!” and “I’ve got to mow the yard!” and “Oh, but we need gas for the lawn mower!” We’re distracted. God is with you and you’re missing His presence.
Even for those of us who want to experience God, We’re often distracted by doing the work of God, and then we miss the presence of God. Like Martha, we’re so busy doing that we’re not being in His presence.
The third question to consider and this one isn’t fun, but:
- Has my heart hardened?
Why don’t I always feel the presence of God? There are times that my heart has grown harder to the truths of God. There have been times that I have been sensitive and tender to the God, but then slowly things happen such as being too busy, being anxious, hurts, and fear or anger and my heart hardens.
In Matthew 13, Jesus had just taught on what was known as the parable of the sower, and then He quotes the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah that says this in Matthew 13:14-15:
You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Matthew 13:14-15
I don’t know how this might play out, but maybe you prayed for something and said, “God, I believe you’re going to do this.” And then, God didn’t do what you thought and you think, “Well, forget God!” and you hardened your heart toward God.
Or perhaps God was leading you to do something, and so you took a step of faith. And when you took that step of faith it didn’t work out the way you thought it would and you think, “I must not hear God or I can’t understand Him or, He’s not trustworthy!” And so you’re heart hardened to the things of God.
I’ve met people who were close to God at one time and then, some Christian did something that wasn’t Christ-like. So they say, “Well God, because of what they did forget you!”
Why does God seem far away? It could be that my heart has grown calloused or harder to God because of something that happened in my life.
Here’s another hard question,
4. Do I have un-confessed sin?
Now, let me be really careful and really clear here. If you’re a follower of Christ, if you committed your life to him and you sin, you’re still a Christian even when you sin. Just because you sin doesn’t mean you’re out of the game. You’re covered by the blood that Jesus shed on the cross for you; your past sins, your present sins, and your future sins! But the reality is, if you continue living with un-confessed sin; in other words, you’re sinning and you’re not sorry and you’re not turning away from it, that is going to negatively affect the potential of intimacy with God.
Let me explain it this way, If I sinned against Niki, would we still be married? The answer is yes! Would we be as close if I continue to sin against her? The answer is no! Imagine that I tell a big whopping lie. Well, you might as well put a brick in between me and her. Then, let’s say that I talk down to her, put another brick. Let’s say I’m verbally abusive to her, another brick. Let’s say I’m continually disrespectful to her, another brick. Let’s say I look lustfully at some girl that walks by, put four bricks up there! Now, if I sinned against her are we still married? Yes, but if I’m not apologizing and turning from it, what am I doing? I’m building a wall of sin.
Maybe the reason you don’t feel God like you could is because you’re not confessing and turning from the sin that separates us from a Holy God.
Un-confessed sin hinders our intimacy with God. What is confession? It’s agreement. God knows, you know, just admit the problem.
Look at Isaiah 59:1-2, God says:
Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. 2 But there is a problem — your sins have cut you off from God. Isaiah 59:1-2
There’s a problem. He can hear you, but your sins have cut you off from God. The good news, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
And then finally, this question is not for me, but for you, why does God seem far way?
- Maybe you don’t know God yet.
There are so many people who know ABOUT God, but don’t know God personally. And there’s a huge difference between having a head knowledge of God and having a heart relationship with God. Jesus said it plainly, He said in John 7:28-29, He said about His Father, ‘
You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me. John 7:28-29
God wants us not to not only know about Him but to know Him.
Maybe today you recognize that you don’t know Him personally. You’ve realized that going to church doesn’t mean you know God. Getting baptized or confirmed when you were a child doesn’t mean you know God. Just because you consider yourself a spiritual person doesn’t mean you have a relationship with God. Here’s how to begin that relationship with Jesus, pray this,
“God thank you for loving me and making me even when I’ve gone my own way. I acknowledge that I need you to forgive me of my sins. Come into my life Jesus. As best as I can, I want to follow you from now on. Help me to grow in my relationship with you. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Congratulations on beginning a relationship with God!
Now, we’ve talked a lot about feelings, and we do feel God’s presence, but you may not always feel God’s presence. It’s going to take faith to believe in Him even when you don’t feel Him. And the good news is faith is pleasing to God. If you always felt His presence, then you wouldn’t need faith, and Scripture says without faith it’s impossible to please God. So, walking with God is not always about our feelings, it’s always about our faith.
For more about the series, Great Questions, please visit, www.RidgeFellowship.com