When God Seems Distant - Maturity
Does God Seem Distant? Sometimes there is a matter of unconfessed sin. Maybe you have something against someone and won't let go of it.....maybe you have upset someone and not made amends? The Holy Spirit is sensitive when we deliberately choose to sin but sometimes there is no sin involved and we don't know what to make of God's seeming absence. I had the title come to mind to write on (When God Seems Distant) with a few thoughts. Later on waking, I felt to do a quick research and found a few links with the same title. I don't often do this. I feel to use one article as a basis to a message of Hope for Christians who are called to maturity in their walk at this time.
There is a Pastor and Theologian by the name of Steven J Cole whose article I can relate with from an experience I had in the 90's when I was living alone in isolated conditions with amplified hearing (there is a medical name for it).
During that time I became so distressed one day – clinically depressed in no small way – and I actually slammed a door (an absolute not to do when sounds are deafening) and called out “maybe now you will take responsibility for me" – it seemed like He did not care about the plight I was in and my urgent prayer just before that did not seem to make any difference. Don't judge me because that was not your set of circumstances.
I was actually distraught.
I am writing these things for your benefit. The Lord did actually heal and restore me not long after that from major depression and a broken spirit and my hearing followed as well. “He (also) brought me into a spacious place” the scripture speaks about and much blessing. So He was not offended at my honesty if you are. I once heard a Pastor say to a small group of women “if you have never been offended with God, you are not real”. He had major depression for some years but loved God enough to become a Pastor. He told us that one time he said “I hate you God” and he saw a vision of Jesus on the Cross looking with eyes of Love.....and the depression left him that day as he was embraced with His empathy.
I am not saying here to get angry at God but mention that moment the Pastor and myself had and that The Lord knows your heart if you have lost patience with God under pressure. You may gain some help here that we did not have.
For the purpose of this article, my writing will be in italics, so I do not receive any credit for the other author's writing.
He says, I believe that there are times in the life of every Christian, when even though you are walking by faith and there is no known sin in your life, God seems far away.
You pray, but God doesn’t answer. You may read the Bible, but it does not speak to you. You may seek God, but it seems as if He is hiding.
When that happens, you’re in good company. David, the man whom God called “a man after My own heart,” had that experience. He describes it in Psalm 13. Out of the depths of his heart David repeats a cry, “How long?” There is no indication in these verses that David had sinned. This Psalm tells you what to do when God seems distant.
When God seems distant, we must call to Him and trust in His unfailing love.
At those times when it seems as if God has turned His back, we must deliberately trust the fact that He loves us with an unfailing love, and that He will not forsake us, even though it may seem that way for a time.
Sometimes it seems as if God moves so slowly! We live in a day that says, “Hurry, hurry, hurry!” But so often God says, “Wait! Wait! Wait!” Someone said once “The trouble is, I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t.”
That is a time when the enemy can try to undermine your Faith in God, giving you reasons why you should doubt Him......bringing up all the evidence (so to speak). At times like that - if ever you've experience this - do not verbalize negative and vexatious thoughts out loud, because of the power of words shown in scripture, it can compound the problem by giving the enemy more ground.
That actually happened to me. One day I said to myself (audibly) "you have a big enemy and a little God" in discust with myself because I could not see Him as more powerful. Then aware of what was happening (the lies of the enemy) I said to myself audibly again "lies, nothing but lies!" a few times, and that's what I ended up with.
God's Mercy did get me out of it "He reached down and drew me out" like the scripture says, but with knowledge, that could have been avoided.
Have you ever noticed the difference between God’s timetable and ours? We think in terms of minutes, hours, and days, but God works in terms of years. When God seems distant, it always affects our emotions.
At times when we are disturbed about such things, we need to take a calm and collective view of encouraging scriptures in quiet meditation. "Why are you so disquietened oh my soul? I'll hope now in God for I shall again praise Him - He's my Refuge and my Strength"
When I was young in The Lord, I heard a prophetic word one day in a service that said "My Peace cannot rest on a troubled spirit" why is that? Because our emotions become turbulent. So we need to take a few deep breaths (naturally speaking) and then regain our composure. It's easier to trust The Lord when we are at rest. Learn to calm yourself like a child at it's mother's breast and lean on God, casting all your care and concern on Him acknowledging that He does Care for you.
God does seemingly forget some of His choicest servants, as we have seen. Joseph, Paul, David – all of them were shut up in unpleasant circumstances during which it seemed that God had forgotten. Do you know what was happening during that time? God was building maturity into those men as they learned to trust Him. Just as it takes years to grow a sturdy oak tree, so it takes years to build the godly character qualities needed to be an effective servant of the Lord.
I can testify to this and a few Christian friends who really love The Lord can also. He does take you into a Spacious Place whereby you are not only blessed but you also become a blessing to others to give them hope.
This is not a time for you to neglect your Christian growth but to press into God.
The more faithful you are in this can shorten this time because you are responding
in the way He wants us to at this time. Take care, others are there with you
in this process. It is not a comfortable time and you will come out of it.
There is no such thing as 'instant godliness'. We have instant everything in our society, but there is no instant godliness. David was anointed as king in his teens. He had a strong faith at that time, as seen in his victory over Goliath. Did God put him on the throne when he turned twenty-one? No. Twenty-five? No. Twenty-six? Twenty-seven? Twenty-eight? Twenty-nine? No. Through all those years of running from Saul and living in caves, David learned to wait upon God. God was developing His man.
That’s so out of place with our rush-rush world! But that’s how God works. If God has you shut up in some frustrating circumstances; and you have racked your brain trying to figure a way out, but nothing has worked; and you see the godless prospering while you suffer; and it seems like God is far away; hang on! Let God do His perfect work in you. He hasn’t forgotten you. Learn to wait on Him.
This is such a restless world we live in, eager to go here and go there, anxious to do this and do that; impatient with anything and anyone who gets in their way. And yes, it's so true 'everything must be instant' - the car, the house, the furnishings etc and all their dreams must be realized straight away, leaving no element of surprise and if plans are made, it's for 'today, today!'
It's inevitable that a little of that is going to affect us in some shape or form.
I mean to say, we are exposed to this environment on a daily basis.
Don't let it shape you and your expectations in God. Separate yourself mentally and spiritually from it. And by the way, you cannot do that with TV programs and movies by the dozen each week that goes by - for sure, that will lodge somewhere in your brain and deficit valuable time you could invest in God.
He has Good Plans for each one of our lives. How can you discover them on a
junk diet like that? "Acquaint yourself with God and be at Peace, thereby Good will
come to you". You want to experience His Goodness don't you?
God has not forgotten you! "Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.’“ ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’“.
This is a time for staying close to the scriptures and the Holy Spirit can develop a capacity in you for waiting on God and trusting Him. We need to learn how to lean on God instead of doing things in our own strength, for the days ahead of us when He unlocks His Power and Wisdom in Grace for those around us and Jesus becomes visible in this Earth again, through us.
A word of encouragement to you He just gave me is "He is no man's debtor".
If you trust Him and allow Him to do a work in you, He will prove Himself Faithful.
For now, He asks you to be faithful and patient in the process.
Notice in Psalm 13 that David changed his focus! From focusing on himself and his problems at the start of the psalm, David shifted his thoughts to God’s
loyal love and salvation. That shift in focus moved him from confusion and depression to joy and praise!
He chose to interpret his circumstances by God’s love rather than to interpret God’s love by his circumstances. In a time of trial, the enemy tries to get us to doubt God’s love. But we must resist that temptation and affirm with God’s Word that He “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” .
CHOICE is the most powerful attribute God has given us - consider it a GIFT
and use it Wisely:
By Choice we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
By Choice we receive Healing and Provision.
By Choice we decide how we will spend our Time, our Money.
By Choice we have certain Values and Ethics.
When God seems distant, join David in deliberately trusting in God’s unfailing love, whatever the winds of circumstance. As David wrote in Psalms “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear Him.” You can count on it, even when your circumstances seem contrary. He is only taking you through it to develop maturity and godly character. “But it’s been months! Years!” Yes, that’s the way He works. He builds things to last, and that takes time. But the finished product is so much better in quality than quick imitations that don’t develop trust in the Living God.
A GOOD PSALM TO STAY CLOSE TO IS PSALM 119
MAKE SURE TO PLAY SOME NICE CHRISTIAN WORSHIP MUSIC.
PRAISE HIM AT ALL TIMES - IT CLEARS YOU OF MENTAL FOG.
"MY WAYS ARE A REFUGE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS"
SOAK YOURSELF IN SOME GOOD MEDITATION DAILY
REMEMBER THAT FEELINGS ARE FICKLE
BUT FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE ABIDE FOREVER!
May Christ be With your Spirit