When God Feels Distant

When God Feels Distant

Clare is a rising senior at Davidson College and the GSPC summer intern for 2020

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” ~Hebrews 13:5

What do you do when God feels distant?

There are moments in our lives when it is harder to notice God at work in our homes, our churches, and especially in the world around us. For me, this feels especially true in light of recent world events. It’s hard to sense God’s hand at work when families are being torn apart, violence has a firm grip on the nation, and after all this time, there are still more questions than answers.

In October of 2013, my brother suffered from a traumatic brain injury. In the weeks following the accident, I watched from the sidelines as he endured long, sleepless nights and countless misdiagnoses from doctors that claimed to have the answers. As the months passed, I became angry and frustrated, ultimately blaming everything on God. I yelled at Him for allowing my brother to suffer. I cried myself to sleep, begging for healing, but sinking slowly into the emptiness of my prayers. In those moments, heaven felt farther than ever and God did not feel like a loving Father. Even after months in and out of the hospital, three brain surgeries, and years of physical therapy, my brother continues to endure gruesome headaches as a result of his injury.

I believe we all experience challenging circumstances that cause us to question God’s authority, and especially his presence. However, even in these times of silence, when God feels galaxies away, it is important to remember this: God is real, no matter how you feel. Even when we can’t sense his presence, He is still there. God makes promises, and He always keeps them. When God says, “I will never leave or forsake you,” we must believe Him. God calls us to believe, even we cannot see, to pray, even when we don’t reap the benefits, and to trust that He knows best above all else.

In every friendship, there are times of distance. Our friendship with God is no different. Even though we may not ask for it, sometimes unwanted space allows friendships to develop, in richer, newer ways. He never promised it would be easy, but He promised it’d be worth it.

If you find yourself in the midst of challenging circumstances that cause you to question God’s authority and promises, I encourage you to keep praying, keep seeking, and keep searching for joy in the waiting. Ask yourself, “Will I continue to love, trust, obey, and worship God, even when I have no sense of his presence or visible evidence of His work in my life?”

What does trusting God look like for you this week, at work or at home?

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