When God Seems Far Away

Maybe you’ve experienced days, weeks and even months when God seemed far away. You pray, but you don’t hear His answer. You read your Bible but no revelation seems to come. You try to worship or praise, but you feel empty.

Unfortunately, I’ve felt that way many times in my life. Thankfully the Bible is full of such experiences. This is a reoccurring theme in David’s life. I was reading one of his prayers and noticed a question David asked God that I had not seen before: “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?”[1]

David wrestled with his thoughts. He recognized the battle he faced in his mind, just as you and I face each day. When I didn’t hear from God, I would dig for answers with faithless questions like:

  • Where is God?
  • Why can’t I hear Him?
  • Why won’t He answer me?
  • Has He forgotten me?
  • Have I done something wrong?

My negative thoughts captivated my heart and imprisoned me.

I struggled to have a right perspective—a view of God’s truth. Before the self-assaulting thoughts came to the forefront of my mind, I knew His promises. I believed His truth.

  • He loves me with an everlasting love.[2]
  • He is faithful and just.[3]
  • He will never leave me or forsake me.[4]
  • He has given me a future and a hope.[5]
  • Nothing and no one can separate me from His love.[6]

But the prison bars rose and imprisoned me with each unbelieving, doubting thought I allowed inside. I could no longer see the truth. I no longer felt His presence. I can no longer heard His voice. I’d built a barrier in my mind. I’ve believed a lie.

But from deep within me, I get a grip and refocus. Like David, I come to my spiritual senses. My eyes are opened. The light of God’s truth makes it way in, and I remember. I remember His goodness, His mercy and truth. I remember how He’s faithfully worked behind the scenes on my behalf—over and over again—most often when I couldn’t see Him, hear Him, or feel Him. Yet, unknown to me at the time, I was experiencing Him.

That little glimpse of light gave me what I need to break free. I went to the Word and began to renew my mind. I removed the barriers my deceitful thoughts created with God’s promises.

I can hope again. I may not yet hear him, or have the answers I desperately need. But I know He is there—as He has always been.

David closes Psalm 13 with these words: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me,” and I echo David’s words.[7]

 

[1] Psalm 13:2 NIV

[2] Jeremiah 31:3

[3] 1 John 1:19

[4] Deuteronomy 31:6

[5] Jeremiah 29:11

[6] Romans 8:39

[7] Psalm 13:5-6 NIV

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A Fresh Perspective of Grace

Umbrellas, when they work effectively, can keep you from experiencing the heaviest of the rainfall. One of the challenges with using an umbrella is it can taint your perspective in the midst of a storm.

Sometimes you need to put away the cumbersomeness of the umbrella before you can experience the fresh perspective that comes through the downpour.

It’s all about perspective when it comes to a life lived for Christ. When we hold others accountable to reflect Christ and then they fail us, we often judge them. When we fail to hold ourselves accountable; we are more apt give ourselves a pass. This causes strife in the body and confusion in those who do not share the faith.

Jesus called us to a life of grace and mercy and we are good at giving ourselves that gift. Shouldn’t we also extend that grace to others as He did? ‪

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:15 ESV).

I’m far from perfect, but I ask the Lord to remind me to shower others with grace. I want to experience His grace in my life. Take some time today to experience God’s grace personally and also reach out to others who probably need some grace in their own lives too!

“Let the rain kiss you.

Let the rain beat upon your head

with silver liquid drops.

Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”

~Langston Hughes

A Promise to Pass Safely Through

I lived just hours from the Tahlequah River in Oklahoma, one of my favorite summer adventures with aunts, uncles and cousins. One year  Grandpa and Grandma went with us. Grandma had never learned to swim was extremely fearful of the water. I remember her putting those big, full, orange life jackets around her neck, arms and legs as she joked with us. She was quite a site to see.

There were summers when we got very little rain and we had toScan_20150619 (16) drag our canoe across the rough, pebbled, shallow places in the river. Other years the water rushed dangerously fast. Every once in a while someone would capsize and others on the river would stop and help.

The first year my husband and I were married, we camped on the river with another couple and with plans to canoe the following day. In the early hours of the morning, an unexpected storm blew through our camp. The water was so heavy, the tent collapsed. It was cold and miserable.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior, (Isaiah 43:2-3 AMP).

The next morning we gathered what was left of our campsite, packed up and made our way to the river to spend the day in the warm sun, canoeing. The sudden rain caused the river to rise substantially, and the water rushed past at a faster speed than any of us had experienced. Halfway down the river, we came upon a father with his young son.

They were trapped in the rushing water.

I remember the concern on the father’s face, and the fear on the little boy’s face. Then the relief and thankfulness after my husband and his best friend freed them from the tree branches and pulled them safely back to the bank.

There are seasons with little rain and our life ebbs and flows gently. Then a great storm comes along—sometimes in the middle of the night while you’re camping—and turns everything in your life upside down. Your first response might be to panic as the water rises to overtake you, but rest assured, the Lord your Savior, promises to be with you. He promises the waters will not overwhelm you and you will pass safely through as you hold tight to Him.

“If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream.”

Francis Chan