When God Seems Distant

 

God is real, no matter how you feel.

It is easy to worship God when things are going great in our lives. When He has provided food, friends, family, health and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. How do we worship God then? What do you do when God seemed a million miles away?

The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.

Friendships are often tested by separation and silence; you are divided by physical distance or you are unable to talk. In your friendship with God, you won’t always feel close to him. Philip Yancey has wisely noted, “Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance, and in relationship with God, no matter how intimate, the pendulum will swing from one side to the other.” That’s when worship gets difficult.

To mature our friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation – times when it feels as if he has abandoned or forgotten us. God feels a million miles away.

David probably had the closest friendship with God of anyone. God took pleasure in calling him “a man after my own heart.” Yet David frequently complained of God’s apparent absence. Of course God hadn’t really left David. He has promised “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” But God has not promised “you will always feel My presence.” In fact, God admits that sometimes He hides His face from us.

Yes, God wants us to sense His presence, but He is more concerned that we trust him than that we feel him. Faith, not feelings, pleases God.

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The Other Side of Setbacks

 

American swimmer Dara Torres had a remarkable career. She appeared in five different Olympics from 1984 to 2008.

Late in her career, Torres broke the US record for the 50-meter freestyle – 25 years after she herself set that record, but it wasn’t always the medals and records.

She also encountered a lot of obstacles in her athletic career. Failure after another, mistakes after mistakes, injuries, surgery, and being almost twice the age of most other competitors.

She said, “I’ve wanted to win at everything, every day, since I was a kid.., I’m also aware that setbacks have upside; they fuel new dreams.”

“Setbacks have an upside” is a great life lesson. Her struggles motivated her to reach for new heights.

Romans 5:3-5 states that “… we also rejoice in sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us…” The Apostle James also told us “consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work…”

Adopting this perseverance on the difficulties of life is not easy, but worthwhile. Trials provide opportunity to deepen our relationship with God. They also teach lessons that success cannot by developing the kind of patience that waits on God and trust Him for the strength to endure.

I remember an excerpt from one of my prayers when I was in one of the darkest days of my life way back then,

“Lord, I hope my prayers will be answered tomorrow, else I could die, but if it remains a ‘no’ until tomorrow and I am still alive, teach me to be more patient and help me to understand more Your reasons, though the same reasons I may not know until tomorrow or the next month or the next decade. All I know is that what is happening at this very moment is for my own sake and my family’s welfare, so that I can share this experience to anyone in the future, so that Your light will shine to others through me, even at darkness”.