Feeling Distant From God?

Does God feel far away? Do you think He’s just not concerned about your life and situation? Maybe it’s punishment for your behavior? You’re trying but it just isn’t giving you any peace. 

DistantfromGodThe business owner was struggling with employee turnover as well as a decline of business revenue. His wife was depressed and one of his children was caught cheating on a high school exam. He spoke to a friend who told him to pray and God will make all things good.

He nodded but frankly didn’t think so. He actually thought God was getting back at him because he really wasn’t praying much and he and his wife weren’t very active with church activities anymore. He really didn’t feel very close to God these days.

The young single woman spent another weekend partying with her drinking friends and missed church again. She felt guilty but also thought she needed a break from all the pressure she was under at her new job. “God will understand,” she told herself. “At least I went to my church covenant group last week.” In all honesty, she felt lonely and disconnected from God.

Though the young executive struggled with pornography, he justified that it wasn’t that bad. He could be doing worse things. He did feel hypocritical though when he went to church with his wife. He told himself that he really must get his act together. He also thought maybe this was why God had him miss getting that promotion last quarter. He felt guilty every time he even tried to pray.

Bad Theology
These people aren’t bad people. They’re merely human like all of us. Christians even, who go to church (when they can) and yet who struggle with problems, pressures, loneliness, addictions, and lusts.

Like them, we also sometimes have bad theology. That is, we have our own rationale of how God works and we speculate on His varying degrees of satisfaction with us. He’s probably mad at us and is taking it out on us in some way that we probably deserve. I recall a clever inscription on the wall of a bathroom in college: “Jesus is coming soon, and boy is he p…ed!:”

That kind of theology seems logical and justified:

  • We do bad things so God brings down the hammer on us
  • We do good things so we get some reward
  • We go to church a lot and God is happy with us
  • We miss church a lot and God has it out for us
  • We go to a small church group meeting and we score points with God.

This, of course, is all dubious, simplistic Christian theology and certainly misses the point of what God really wants with us.

Our Feeble Notions
The great American pastor and author, A. W. Tozer cites the question posed by Christian orthodoxy about the purpose of life:

Question:  What is the chief end of Man?  Answer:  Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Tozer points out that God has intended for us great joy and communion with Him but we have been guilty of a “foul revolt.” We have broken from him and fled in rebellion, lost in separation and destined for unceasing restlessness. It’s a miserable life we lead when we attempt to live on our own terms and conditions.

Most of us just don’t recognize what it is that we’re doing. Our terms and standards are often a quasi-Christian conglomeration of myths, hopes, and feeble notions.

It’s ultimately a big miss of the mark.

Passing Through the Veil
As addressed in last week’s post, we have direct New Testament-like access to God through identity with Jesus Christ and his shed blood on the cross. Just as Moses (see Exodus) was instructed to have the Israelites spread the blood of sacrificed lambs over the doorways of their homes in Egypt to avoid death of their first-born sons in the first pass-over, so Christ’s death allows all of us eternal pass-over should we simply accept the gift.

His death on the cross did something spiritually, physically, and symbolically in breaking down the barrier-veil between Holy God and us unholy people. Therefore, closeness or connection with God is right before all of us.

Why then would we hold back and not enter in full engagement with God?

Because we don’t see it.

We’re so earth-focused and obsessed with our personal plight (job, money, family, possessions, status, friends, desires) that we miss the bigger, amazing picture and situation we’re in and what God would have for us.

We’re selfish, self-possessed, self-righteous, and self-serving. And we’re settling for dinner scraps when a wondrous feast has been set before us.

How to Reconnect
To re-engage and close the gap between you and God, find a quiet private place to pray and take the following actions:

  • Acknowledge identity with Jesus: “Lord, thank you for your sacrificial death for me.”
  • Invite God’s Holy Spirit into your presence: “Holy Spirit, please come to me now and fill me and this place.
  • Acknowledge your selfish ways: “Lord, I’m so broken and lost.”
  • Acknowledge your need for forgiveness: “God, please forgive me and my sins and failures.”
  • Surrender your ego, self, heart, mind, soul, and will: “Lord, I can’t do this by myself anymore. I surrender. I’m done. Please take all of me – my heart, mind, and soul, and will – as well as my business, my marriage, my family, my home, my finances, my friends, and reset my life under Your authority.
  • Ask for God’s directional leading: Jesus, I trust you as my Lord. Lead me today on the right path you have for me. I’m under new management today. Amen!

Do that everyday and watch your life turnaround. I’m not talking about getting rich, but getting richer in blessings, peace, life and hope.

That troubled business owner can reset his business, marriage, and family. The active but lonely young single woman can recommit her work, social and church life to align with God’s great purpose and direction for her. The compromising young executive can reestablish his integrity and transform his thought-life and marriage. Problems and challenges don’t necessarily all go away; but real peace, perspective and rich blessings come in the midst of them. It’s a better life.

And it’s not in church meetings, activities, or community service. That flows ancillary to a God-filled life. It’s in the personal daily relationship with God who’s so tangibly available to us.

Simply pass through the veil.

Have you passed through the veil to God directly? Do you do it daily?
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. – Heb. 10:19

Categories: Abundant Living, Calling, Devotion, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Marriage, Prayer, Purpose, Theology

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