Seeking God when He Seems Far Away

We've all had those mountain-top experiences. But what about when God seems to be far from us? How do we seek Him in those times? Click here to find out!

I loved going to youth conferences in high school. The bus trip, hanging out with friends, staying up late, great worship, amazing speakers. I would leave the youth conference so on fire for God, eager to love Him unconditionally and serve Him every day.

But inevitably, within the week, the spiritual “high” I was on would fade, and I would come down from the mountain to the plateau of everyday life. I was left wondering where my eagerness went, and if I was a bad Christian for being less interested in God.

The reality is that the Christian life isn’t supposed to be fuelled by these mountaintop experiences. There are lots of times of our lives during which God seems far away. The question is, what do we do when He seems to be far from us?

Spiritual check-up.

Whenever I realize that I’ve been drifting from God, I stop and take a look at my life lately. Have I been spending time in the Word? Have I been praying regularly? Am I taking time to worship and seek the Lord? If I’m not making an effort on my part, my relationship with God won’t grow. Great friendships happen when both people put an effort in; it’s the same with God. Yes, He loves us unconditionally, but my relationship with Him won’t mature if I’m not putting any priority on it.

Re-prioritize spiritual disciplines.

There have been so many times where I’ve felt distant from God, only to realize that I haven’t been in the Word for two weeks. Not spending time with God has an impact on our lives! When I make Jesus a priority again, He is able to reveal Himself to me and I’m able to grow closer to Him.

Spend time in prayer.

There have been times when I’ve found myself far from God because I’ve actually been walking away from Him. There are so many things that get between us + God—new relationships, school/work stress, pride, selfish desires, wrong choices. I have often wondered why I’m far from God only to realize that I’ve been making decisions based on my own wants, rather than His will from my life.

Ask God to show you areas in your life that you need to give back to Him. Before I can seek after the Lord, I need to come to Him with these things and confess them. When we make ourselves right with God (that is, accepting Jesus’ forgiveness and intervention for us before God), we are free to seek Him and grow in our relationship with Him.

Seek, and you will find.

James 4:8 says this:

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…

God does not withhold from us. When we pursue Him, He awaits us with open arms. He is waiting for us to return to Him, and He will meet us where we are. Next time you’re feeling far from the Lord, remember that He has not left. He loves His children and has promised us that He will never leave nor forsake us.

Join the conversation! How do you seek God when you feel far from Him?

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When Serving Your Church isn’t a Privilege

As Christians, we know that serving in the church is expected of us. But what happens when serving isn't a privilege anymore, but an obligation? Click here to read about how to find joy in serving.

I was raised in the church. I went to nursery, Busy Bees, Sunday School, Tuesday night youth and Friday night young adults. I also go to a fair-sized church, which allows me to enjoy being a part of lots of different programs. I could get involved in lots of different ways, and I loved (and still do) being a part of a larger church family.

But somehow, I lost my identity as a Christian in there. I’m not sure how it happened, but eventually I forgot why I was there. I was serving, worshiping and fellowshiping, but occasionally I would wonder why.

Then doubts started happening. If I’m not sure why I’m here, does that make me a bad Christian? Aren’t Christians supposed to have purpose? Meaning?

I felt a little empty. Christians are supposed to be fulfilled because we’re the ones who have been saved and filled with the joy of the Lord! What’s going on here?

I realized that it’s actually quite simple. In serving my church, I was doing, but not experiencing. There’s a difference.

Sometimes we just get busy and lose our focus. We can get distracted by everything that has to be done that we forget the One who’s behind it all and that we’re actually doing it all for Him. I think we get really used to sitting back and watching the show instead of actually being in the cast.

Psalm 34:8 says,

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

The Bible tells us to experience God, not observe Him. We are to “taste” the Lord’s goodness and “see” His work. The dictionary defines the verb to see as this:

  1. Perceive with the eyes; discern visually
  2. Discern or deduce mentally after reflection or from information; understand

We are not called merely to observe the Lord’s goodness, but to reflect on it; understand it. I have served in my church, but how many times have I gone home after volunteering and thought about how God is working through me and everyone else at that particular event? How many times have I thanked God for what He’s doing in the lives of the youth as I serve them?

It’s so easy to just try to get through and get things done as we fulfill our roles as part of the Body of Christ. But eventually, we get burned out. We become weary. We get tired and wonder if we’re really doing any good or if we’re really making a difference.

In Galatians 6:9 – 10, Paul reminds us:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Paul repeats this admonishment in 2 Thessalonians 3:13 as well.

Next time you’re feeling tired from serving, remember that there is more to it than just doing. Ask God to help you experience His goodness and joy as you serve Him. The latter part of Psalm 34:8 says, “Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” What you do will not be done in vain if done for the Lord and not for man.

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