When God Feels Far Away
"God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'"1
A Daily Encounter reader asks, "How can I have a relationship with a God that I cannot feel or hear even though I believe in him?"
Feelings. What would life be without them? No doubt, deadly dull and boring. As a Reader's Digest writer once said, "Life without feelings would be like playing a trombone with a stuck slide." However, as wonderful as feelings are, they can also be confusing if we don't understand them.
When it comes to feeling God's presence, one major reason we can't feel him can have a lot to do with our childhood. If we had a close, loving, and warm relationship with our earthly father, it is so much easier to feel that God, too, is close, loving and warm. On the other hand, if our father was distant, cold, or not physically or emotionally present for us, we tend to project the same feelings we had towards him onto God our Heavenly Father and feel that he is distant, cold and not there either. Where this is the case, it can be helpful to seek capable counseling to help resolve oneís father issue.
Another reason why God can feel far away is if we are not living in harmony with his will. Guilt builds a "feeling" barrier between us and God.
When we are living in harmony with Godís will, we need to remind ourselves that God is not our earthly father (or mother), nor is he like a bad father, and that he is always close to us whether we feel it or not.
I like the words written on the wall where Jews had hidden from Hitler's atrocities and death camps:
"I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining.
I believe in love even when
I do not feel it.
I believe in God even when He is silent."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that, even though my feelings fluctuate up and down, you never change. Thank you, too, that you are always present and will never leave me nor forsake me. I choose to commit and trust my life to you regardless of my feelings. And I thank you that you are always with me even when I can't feel your presence. And please help me to see any barriers in my life that may be causing me to feel that you are distant and far away. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Hebrews 13:5-6 (NIV).