Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
God is never far away from any of His people. It just seems that way at times when we are going through trouble and turmoil. Some people might not know or understand that God is closer to them at those times of suffering than during ordinary times.
When things are going great, some people are known to say, "I have the favor of God" or "God is present in my life." The thing to consider is that God is in your life during times when you think He is not. God is not a fair-weather friend like some people who leave you when you need them the most.
Throughout the Old Testament, God assured His people that He would never leave them or forsake them. That same theme is in the New Testament. Both Deuteronomy 31: 6 and Hebrews 13:5 say, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." According to Romans 8:35-39. "Nothing can separate us from God’s presence and His love."
It’ is normal to feel that God is far away sometimes. However, we are not to feel that way all the time. God doesn't play "hide and seek" with His people. He does not withhold His presence even though we feel that He does.
If you feel that God has left you, you are not alone. Many other disciples of Christ have experienced emptiness in their spirits and feel that God is far away. Even the psalmists felt that way. They have asked God the following questions throughout the Psalms:
- "Where are you, Lord?
- "Why are you hiding yourself from me?"
- "I am your child, so why, Father, does it feel like you are ignoring my cries?"
- "How long, O Lord?"
- "Will you forget me forever?"
- "How long will I seek you, only to find silence? I am languishing, O Lord. Do not delay, O my God."
- “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?"
- Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
While Job was covered in sores and mourning the loss of his children and possessions, he sat on an ash heap and questioned God's presence, “Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy?” (Job 13:24)
What to Do When God Seems Far Away
You can deal with any bad things that are going on in your life if you know that God does not leave you in times of trouble. He is never far away. He is always close by. We don't recognize His presence because we focus on our bleak situations instead of on God who is loving and caring.
What then do people do when God seems far away? The answer is quite simple. According to Psalm 22:3, "God inhabits the praises of His people." In other words, praise God, and you will more than likely feel His presence.
Admittedly, it is difficult to praise God in times of suffering and grief. However, it is at those times that when we give God the sacrifice of praise, He shows up more powerfully in our situation.
Take the same advice God gave Jeremiah, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
The Sacrifice of Praise
The sacrifice of praise is praising God when you don't feel like it. It is praising God when you would rather be doing something else. It is praising God no matter what else is going on.
You do not have to be part of a praise team to praise God. You don't have to wait until the pastor says, "Give God a hand clap of praise." You can praise God at times even if you are alone and no one is watching.
During your time of praise, call on God's holy name and exalt Him through praise. Tell God how worthy He is. Usually, by the time you get to the end of your praise session, you will wonder why you were convinced that God was far away in the first place.
Not Just in Church
It might be easier to feel God's presence when you are praising God along with others. You don't have to be in church on a Sunday morning to feel God's presence.
It is good news that you can feel God's presence during the midnight hour when you are tossing and turning while you are alone in your bed.
When you call out and ask, "Where is God? Why does God seem so far away?" God will answer you with His presence.
When You Don't Feel God's Presence
There are some things you can do when you don't feel God's presence.
- When you don’t feel God’s presence, rely on God's character and what you know about Him instead of on your problems.
- When you don’t feel God’s presence, rely on God's track record. If God has helped you out of tough situations before, He will do it again.
- When you think God has left you, rely on His word that it will not return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11). If God has said something in His word, it will come to pass. Believe Him and in your heart of hearts remember that God's word is true.