When God Doesn’t Feel Near

What do you do when God doesn’t feel near?

Recognizing that there are external life circumstances that contribute to this — trauma, broken relationships, moving to a new location — I think that most of us would admit to experiencing persistent bouts of the absence of God’s felt presence; that this is something common to following Jesus. That it is normal.

Why is this the case? I think because for fear and pride, and countless other reasons, we don’t put ourselves in the paths of God’s presence in specific enough ways. The other day I was brought back to a passage that I had lived in a few years ago. I had attempted to memorize it, I thought about it on long walks as I was memorizing it, and, naturally, I brought it up often in conversation.

And every time I came back to this text, it seemed as if God was moving towards me. And I think it is because my heart towards this particular part of Scripture transitioned from simply seeing it as, “God’s word” to it being, “God’s message to me.” The more time I spent in it, the more time God would speak through its unchanging truths into the ever-changing landscape that was my life.

Maybe you, out of a fear of true intimacy with the living God, have contented yourself with approaching the Bible as God’s book, but have not treated it like God’s word to you. Maybe you have yet to know personally the resonance we have with God through his message. There is grace for you. Let’s confess together.

Dan Nichols