The question of God’s distance is one of the most personal we will face. Here’s why: we were designed to have a relationship with our creator.
The relationship between God and humans begins in a garden. But it doesn’t take too long before the garden turns into a wilderness and then a desert. It’s what author C.S. Lewis once called the Law of Undulation. Undulation is the rising and falling waves.
We have peaks and valleys. We even describe our spiritual highs as “mountaintop experiences.” But to have a mountaintop requires a valley, too. We feel good about the peaks and struggle when in the valleys.
Generally speaking, we prefer the garden over the desert.
But life isn’t always bouncing from mountain top to mountain top, from peak experience to peak experience.
Even the Apostle Paul experienced this. While on trial, Paul experienced the deepest kind of abandonment. Here is how he described it to Timothy:
16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them (2 Timothy 4:16).
Paul is not talking about being abandoned by his enemies or strangers. It wasn’t his casual acquaintances who abandoned him. He is talking about his friends deserting him. And let’s be clear: his CHRISTIAN friends.
Some of you know how this feels. You’ve been deserted by friends or family members. Maybe you had a church experience where the church failed to embrace you with open arms.
You might have more in common with apostle Paul than you originally thought. Including this …
17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen (2 Timothy 4:17-18).
When God feels distant it doesn’t mean that he is distant.
Let me share with you three action items that I have found usual during those seasons whenI feel distant from God.
Make worship a regular part of your life.
Don’t just attend a church. Be a part of a church. This isn’t the only place God exists – but it is a place where we recognize and remember all that God is doing. It is a weekly opportunity to hear God’s voice, to sing about Jesus, and to experience the healing of the Holy Spirit.
When are you the closest to Jesus? When you are serving someone else. Jesus himself once said, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” I have found that serving someone in the name of Jesus helps me experience him in a new and fresh way.
Belong to a small group.
Sometimes God feels distant because we are distant from his people – from each other. We were made to be in relationships. When we are not in healthy, godly relationships, it is much harder to sense the presence of God.
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Experience and Background
- 25+ years of senior leadership experience
- masters in management and leadership
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
To get a better feel for my style and personality, you can watch past sermons on our YouTube channel.
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I’ve written a few books that might help! You’ll find books on preaching, leadership, Ephesians, as well as my first novel. Follow this link to learn more.