God is Near, Even When He Feels Far Away
By Brenda Rodgers
"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed" (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Often when I feel God is far away, shame takes over. We have this idea that low points in our relationship with Jesus equate to a lack of love for Him. Sometimes well-meaning churches or Christian environments support this belief.
However, most people in the Bible felt like God was far away from them at one point in their journey. Think about Hannah whose only hope in life was to have a baby. Or Joseph who was sold into slavery. What about Moses who never got to enter the Promised Land? Even though the Bible may not articulate that these people felt far from God, I imagine that their circumstances created that tension. And then, of course, there was Jesus Himself who asked, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).
In many ways, our relationship with God is like our human relationships. There are times we feel closer to God than in other times, just like there are times we feel closer to people in our life than other times. This is natural. There's no reason for it to cause shame or make us question our love for Him. In fact, we need to guard against doing that because it is a tactic of the enemy. Satan wants us to feel shameful about our relationship with God, and the longer we wallow in that belief, the more opportunity he has to build a foothold in our lives.
Remembering that my feelings aren't my reality is hard for me. Everything I feel is reality for me. But the Bible tells us differently. We may feel that God is far away but the truth is He never leaves us and He's always with us. Let's look at some of the promises from the Bible that tell us God is always with us:
"Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
Feelings are powerful and important, but we do not need to depend on them to guide us. When we're tempted to believe our feelings instead of what is real and true, we need to meditate on these promises from God. Reality is what the Bible tells us, not what our feelings say.