Do you sometimes feel far from God? Does He feel far from you?

There have been stretches in my faith journey in which I have not been able to feel God’s presence. I knew cognitively that He is always with me and promises never to leave, but my heart did not share that same confidence. In those moments, I wondered if He even cared about me and I began to believe the whispers in my head that I am somehow undeserving of his attention and touch. Special seasons like Advent slipped by without me feeling a connection with Jesus. These were heavy, painful times; I felt a fraud inside, but worked hard to keep up an all-is-well outward appearance.

Do you ever find yourself in a place like that? Do you long for a deeper connection with God but feel stuck in the shallows, far away from Him? What do we do when we find ourselves in a place where we begin to wonder if He’s even there, if He even sees or hears us?

There could be any number of reasons why one might experience a felt distance from God; there is a measure of mystery in it. However, in my journey, it has been finding the courage to acknowledge my doubts and speak them aloud—whether in prayer to God or in conversation with a trusted spiritual friend or adviser—that begins to lessen the heaviness and pain of feeling far from God. Sharing my doubts with God gives Him an opening to speak assurance into my heart, and uncovering those uncertainties with my spiritual friend gives Him the opportunity to speak love through her voice. In both of these cases, the Holy Spirit has reminded me to return to what I know of God from his Word and from my experience of Him: that He goes with me and will never leave me (Deut. 31:6); that He is good and his mercy is over all He has made (Ps. 145:9); that He pursues me with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). These truths stand even when we do not feel them.

In Advent, we are reminded that Love is coming—has come—for us, and that God is near. Perhaps you just don’t feel that nearness. If you find yourself in a far-from-God space, acknowledge your distance and distress in prayer with Him. Tell Jesus about the connection you long for. You might also discuss these things with a trusted friend. And ask yourself: What do I know of God that I can return to? Which truths do I want to ask God to assure me about? In my distance, how might I imagine Jesus reaching out towards me?

Friend, be confident in the waiting: the Lord is near.

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!”   

—Ps. 27:13-14 (ESV)



Frozen Lake Tracks

Rangeley, Maine, 2020