When God Feels Far Away
This article is Part 6 of Sister Michelle Watson's series "Dealing With Divine Delays."
Have you ever experienced a time in life when God felt far away — distant, out of the picture, unconcerned, aloof? Times like this are often characterized by not feeling God's spirit as strong — or at all — and apathy about godly things, such as churchgoing and basic Christian disciplines (reading, praying).
We Christians are always talking about how God wants to shower us with His love, so when we go through one of these dry spells, it's confusing. Why does God go silent sometimes? There are a few reasons.
The first is that we've pushed God away. Mosiah 2:36 says, "After ye have known and have been taught all these things, if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom's paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved."
When I disobey God's commandments and go my own way, I withdraw myself from His spirit and everything that goes with it. This makes logical sense.
But, what about the times when you're "doing everything right" yet you still feel disconnected from God? You desire the connection to Christ — you yearn for it — yet you feel like you're getting a busy signal. This scenario does not make logical sense.
It's especially easy to feel this way when you're praying for something and nothing happens. You're asking, seeking, and knocking like crazy, and ... profound silence. No "yes." No "no." Just ...
When God felt far away in my life, the following sentence brought me a lot of comfort and rang very true:
The times when God seems farthest away are often the times He's most keenly interested in your development.
Pondering this, I realized that a teacher doesn't hold a student's hand during each and every step of the learning process. There are times when the teacher stands silent, letting the student respond and perform alone, without active assistance.
This truly helped to change my perspective. Instead of it being a dark, godless abyss, it was instead a proving ground. It wasn't that God had left me; He was maturing me.
Luke 18:1-8 tells the parable of the persistent widow. The unjust judge gave her what she wanted simply because he was annoyed by her nonstop asking. How much more will God, a just judge, provide for His people who tirelessly ask? Verse 7 specifically says, "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?"
Next time you're wondering why God has gone MIA in your life even though you've been seeking Him, consider the possibility that He might just be "bearing long with you" right now for whatever reason — God surely does have His reasons. He hasn't left you. He's right by your side even if you can't feel Him there. He's watching closely, interested in everything that's going on with you, and at the right and perfect time He will make His presence felt and known.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.