“Lord, are you there? Have you forgotten about me?”
“Where are you God? I can’t seem to sense your presence near me.”
If you have ever asked those questions or made those statements, you are certainly not alone. I have asked those questions more than once. There are times in life when we will struggle to see God in the midst of what is happening, or have a hard time feeling as though He is near to us.
We all have difficult seasons of life, circumstances we don’t understand, or even times when we are easily distracted. During those times, it can be hard to see God or feel his presence. We begin to wonder if he left, or moved away from us. We begin to think perhaps he has forgotten about us. Or, maybe we feel he is not walking with and leading us.
As we begin to feel or think that way, it can be very discouraging. In those moments, in those seasons, and in those times when we allow ourselves to feel we are alone, we need to stay focused on truth. Our feelings can frequently change and that can lead us to have thoughts and feelings that are not based on truth.
However, when we focus on the truth, our thoughts will be based on truth.
That is an INCREDIBLE promise of God!
He will never leave us or forget about us. NEVER. That’s a very definite and powerful word. There is no “if…” in that promise. Just a definite and absolute promise from God.
The truth is, God does not move. He has not forgotten about us, or left us. He is currently walking with us and leading us. He is ever present and immovable.
My favorite illustration of this truth is a funny little story about a husband and wife. When they were first married, they always wanted to be close to each other. The front seat of their car was a bench seat, so as the husband drove, his wife would slide over and sit right next to him. She would hold his arm, sometimes lay her head on his shoulder, and just be close to him. As time passed, they had a family, jobs, etc. Many years later, they were driving in the car…the husband was driving, and the wife was sitting in the passenger seat. She looked at her husband, and remembered back to when she sat next to him, not wanting any space between them. But now there was space between them as she was sitting on the passenger side. She noted this, and said to her husband, “What happened? We used to sit next to each other, and now I’m all the way over here.” Without missing a beat, the husband simply replied “I haven’t moved.”
That story reminds me that God does not move from us. He is always with us. He hasn’t left, or wandered off, or forgotten about us. Even when we feel like he has…the truth is he is right beside us. He hasn’t moved.
But there will be times that we feel that way and that is hard. We always want to hear from him and sense his presence and leading. However, even when he seems to be silent, that doesn’t mean he is not working on our behalf in ways we cannot see and do not understand.
In this situation, we need to focus on truth rather than feelings. And the truth is since we have God’s Word with us, he is never truly silent. Yes, there are times in life when we will sense him more, or see him in what is happening around us. Then at other times we may not feel his presence. But even when we aren’t sensing or seeing him, we always have his Word…which means we always have the ability to hear from him.
Isaiah 40:8 says – The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
Proverbs 30:5 says – Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Hebrews 4:12 says – For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
As we see from these verses, God’s Word is strong and powerful. It stands through the tests of time and trials of life; it proves true. We can take refuge in him and his words; and if we allow it to, it will have a deep impact in our life. God’s Word is available to us at all times, which means he is never silent (and…there are so many more verses in God’s Word that reminds us how powerful his Word is…look them up).
God has not forgotten us, or abandoned us, or moved from us.
The reality is, sometimes I feel abandoned by God in this life. I feel like he is far, or has forgotten about me, but those are feelings not based on truth. So at those times, I must be willing to find areas in my life where I may have stopped focusing on him, and choose to seek after him with all of my heart (Jeremiah 29:13). I must choose God’s truth over how I feel because of life’s circumstances.
What about you? Do you have a hard time feeling like God is near to you at this time? Are you struggling with feeling like there’s distance between you and God, or that you haven’t heard from him or sensed his leading in your life lately?
Even when you know the truth that God doesn’t move, you can still have times that you feel that way. At those times, choose to focus on truth rather than what you are feeling.
If you are feeling as though God has moved from you, or there is more distance between you and God, try some of the following…
Pray – When you feel distant from God, it can be easy to stop talk to him. But don’t…make it a point to continue to talk to your God.
Read His Word – Along with prayer, reading God’s Word is often easily neglected when we feel distance between us and God. Continue to make his Word a priority…allow your God to keep speaking to you.
Reflect – Take time to ask yourself honest questions, to determine why you are feeling distant, where your focus is, and if you are being distracted in some way from your God.
Practice Grace – Don’t beat yourself up if and when you struggle. God gives you grace beyond understanding. When you are struggling, or feeling distracted, or even angry with God and thus maybe pulling away from him some…give yourself grace. God does. Remember his amazing grace (Ephesians 2:4-10), give yourself that grace, and allow that grace to be the catalyst that draws you back toward God again.
As you seek to Simply Follow Jesus in this life, remember that at times you will struggle and feel distant from God. But don’t let that feeling begin to control your thinking. Focus on what is true and continue to seek after God in this life, with all of your heart.
The truth is, God hasn’t gone anywhere…he hasn’t moved. He is right there with you, still leading you through this life.