What To Do When God Feels Far Away
Let’s just be honest, sometimes it feels like God is far away. The circumstances of our lives often camouflage His blessings and goodness. We pray and pray but nothing seems to be happening. As a matter of fact, things often get worse instead of better. Discouragement sneaks in and before we know it, our faith has slipped and we are gripped by doubt. The enemy uses every opportunity to snag our hope and we wake up one morning realizing we have stopped praying and stopped believing.
The Psalms encourage me as I read my own heart cry in black ink. The men of old asked some of the same questions we continue to ask today. Recently, I landed in Psalm 77 and was just speechless.
It begins with a desperate cry to God for help. The cry sounds alarmingly familiar. I’m guessing you have experienced it also.
“When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted. I groaned; I mused, my spirit grew faint.“ v. 2-3
Sleep was nowhere to be found and the questions came rolling in like a black storm. They are sharp and direct questions, but I take note that they are asked of God.
“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will He never show his favor again?
Has His unfailing love vanished forever?
Has His promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has He in anger withheld His compassion?” v. 7-9
It’s right there in scripture. The hard questions rising from the middle of a hard place. Do you know that God allows the hard questions? He is not moved or changed by our questions. He sees us and knows us. I learn from this scripture that it is key to cry out in anguish to Him, not to my friends or myself. He hears my every cry and in His way and His time, He will answer.
Suddenly there is a turn in the Psalm. I don’t think anything changed for the writer, but he turned his thoughts away from the questions and forced his thoughts to the memory of who God had been for him in the past.
"Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal; the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” v. 10-12
Do you see it there? I Will. I Will. I Will. It’s not positive thinking but a turning of the will to focus on the Most High, and His deeds and miracles of long ago. He meditated on all His mighty deeds, then his heart turned to praise and declaration of who God is.
The same will be true for you and me. As we turn our eyes to focus on Him our hearts begin to recount His goodness and faithfulness. Hope rises in our hearts and the questions subside. Gratitude and worship push away the doubt within the darkness.
May I challenge you to join me right now in the midst of your hard questions and meditate on the past goodness of the Lord. Recall His mighty deeds. Declare to the Lord: “You did it before and I know you can do it again.”
Lord, Most High, your deeds are many and I choose to count them and meditate on them. When I consider your mighty deeds, faith arises in my heart. I believe in you Lord! You see me; you know me and you are right in the middle of the storm with me.
I give praise to You!