“If you feel far from God, guess who moved?”
That’s what I had just heard on the radio. “Had I moved away from Him?” I anxiously wondered. The concept caused a great deal of stress and worry in my heart. Maybe I did move. Could there be some sin that I committed that I don’t know about…again. So, Again, I prayed and asked God to reveal any hidden sin that must be tucked away in my soul that was making me far from Him. Nothing. There was just silence. And the continued feeling of being far away from my King. This is What I Wish I Had Known When I Didn’t Feel God’s Presence.
I wish someone had spoken much-needed truth to my heart during that dark time in my life. There was no one to trust, no one who understood what I was going through. I was a very much alone in this struggle and feeling of complete failure as a Christian.
Be Careful Little Ears…
The longer I am a Christian, the more often I hear popular sayings that are unbiblical and unhealthy spiritually. Frustration and annoyance rise up in my heart whenever I hear them. Christians say them without thought – I know I used to be one of them! Things like, “God won’t give us more than we can handle” – CORRECTION – He will not give us anything that HE can’t handle…and He can handle anything. There is absolutely NO WAY that I could have handled the pain and damage of childhood sexual abuse all on my own. I needed God. He had to handle it for me. 1 Corinthians 10:13 is the verse that is quoted to back up this claim. Please note it says ‘temptation’ and that God will provide a way out of temptation.
“If you feel far from God, guess who moved?” is another one of those popular quotes we voice to friends who are struggling in their faith – Yeah, how helpful is that?
We must be so careful with what we hear and what we believe. Just because another Christian says it, doesn’t mean it is Biblical. Be a Berean and search the scriptures! Guard your heart! Even from popular Christian clichés from famous Christians!
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling
One red flag that is raised with the ‘guess who moved’ expression is the word ‘feel‘. Our culture today puts so much emphasis on our feelings. We have a right to our feelings. Use ‘I feel’ statements when having a disagreement. We are told to trust our feelings. It seems that our lives ought to be all about our feelings…our feelings reign supreme! What worldly – and wrong – advice!
Yes, our feelings are important. However, they were never meant to dictate our behavior. Our feelings offer a glimpse to what is going on in our lives, they are telling us to pay attention because something is not quite right.
Nevertheless, we must also use reason when it comes to our feelings. The best reasoning comes from the wisdom we find in God’s word. Our feelings are not the be all and end all of our situation. God’s word and His promises have sovereignty and power over our human feelings.
Let’s take a look at God’s word and see just how much truth is in this saying.
Pursuing God’s Heart
David gives us a perfect example of a man who did not trust in his own feelings. Read through any of the Psalms and you’ll see that in the midst of his darkest moments, all of the times he did not feel God’s presence, he chose to hold fast to the promises of God’s word. He trusted that God was with him through all of it.
“Why do You stand afar off, O LORD?
Why do You hide in times of trouble?”
In Psalm 9, David reminds himself that God does not forsake those who seek Him. In other words, if you have been seeking Him and you do not feel close to Him, then rest assured that He is near, despite your feelings.
Throughout the Psalms, David can be seen reminding himself of the truths of God’s word. He is reminding himself of God’s promises because maybe he doesn’t feel God’s presence all the time.
In Psalm 22, David asks God why He has forsaken him. He cries out “Why are You so far from helping me?” He is feeling alone. He is feeling far from God.
David begins claiming the truths about God. God is holy. He can be trusted. He answered his cries for help.
When you are feeling far from God, hold fast to His promise that He is near, He is close. He might be quiet, but He has not forsaken you…regardless of your feelings. Claim the truth that is deeply rooted within your heart and follow hard after your Savior.
Why Have You Forsaken Me?
Let’s look at another example…Jesus is the flawless example of this truth. Our Savior, Jesus, in the highest point of His agony, asked His Father why He had forsaken Him.
Clearly, Jesus was not feeling close to His Father. And it is not because Jesus “moved away” from Him. It is because He was in the depths of utter despair. Isn’t that when we usually feel far from God?
Isn’t that when we usually feel far from God? When we are experiencing profound grief and emotional pain? This is when we desperately need God to rescue us and when He doesn’t right away, we rely on our feelings of Him not being present.
Let’s turn back to Jesus. John 10: 30 says, “I and My Father are one.”
In John 16:32, Jesus says, “And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”
How can God forsake Him if He is one with God? How can God be far from Him if they are together? We can ask these same questions for ourselves.
We are one with Christ. One with God. How can He be far from us when we have been sealed? This verse doesn’t say if we feel like we are one with Him, then we are. Paul is very clear and concise here – if we are disciples of Christ, we are one with Him. And that makes us one with our Heavenly Father. Therefore, it is impossible for us to be separated from each other, especially because of feelings.
The Matryoshka Doll
To help you get this truth even deeper into your heart, picture a set of those Russian nesting dolls, matryoshka dolls. They are varying sizes so that they can fit inside each other. We are like the tiniest doll, placed within the next sized up doll – which is like Jesus. We fit snuggly and safely inside. And Jesus abides in His Father, the largest doll (I can only use 3 for my example!). I think you get the idea…we are safe inside Him.
We can’t get away from Him!
The Bottom Line
So, here is the bottom line:
Don’t trust your feelings.
Feelings are fickle.
Trust God’s word.
Instead of saying “If you feel far from God, guess who moved?”, say,
“If you feel far from God, fully trust His word. He is not far from you.”
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