“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.

"If you feel far from God, guess who moved?" Is this saying really Biblical? Is it Truth? Have you wondered where God was when you didn't feel close to Him? What I Wish I Knew 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

Psalm 9-9-10David 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?”

Psalm 10:1

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.   

BUT

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?

Matthew 27-46Let’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.”

1 Corinthians 6-17How 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

matryoshka-970943_1920To 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.”

"If you feel far from God, guess who moved?" Is this saying really Biblical? Is it Truth? Have you wondered where God was when you didn't feel close to Him? What I Wish I Knew When I Didn't Feel God's Presence

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Aimee Imbeau

Aimee is a wife to an incredible husband, Marcus, and mother to three fabulous children. She works from home as a homeschool support teacher and she homeschools her own children as well. She loves writing abut her faith and decided to give blogging a try in 2013. The rest is history...
  • Sussy

    Wow! Thanks Aimee for the reminder that we need to trust God’s word and His promises and not our feelings. Indeed, we should search the scriptures like the Bereans and not believe everything we hear as truth even if it is coming from the mouth of a popular Christian.

    • It can be so easy to just believe things we hear from others, can’t it? However, we have become a Biblically illiterate church, choosing to be spoon fed teachings rather than deeply study the Word ourselves. So, that really doesn’t help at all. It is so important to me that my kids know what God’s word says by studying it themselves.

  • Jen

    Love this post, Aimee! I was just talking with a friend who was feeling distance in that relationship the other night, and I mentioned the Psalms to her, also. I’m so thankful we have examples of real life faith in the Bible – men and women who struggled to believe, who sinned, who felt distant from the Lord.
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

    • Thanks, Jen. I am thankful for the exact same things you mentioned! If David felt that way, surely we all will at some point! And God will show His faithfulness to us – He will always be with us.

  • Melony

    Thank you so much. Was feeling very dark today and the Lord brought me here. What a good thing to read and know that I am not alone in my aloneness.

    • Oh, Melony, you certainly aren’t alone. Ever. He is always with you. Sometimes He is quiet and sometimes He is loud. The times He is quiet, I wonder if He is inviting us to join Him – to rest in His quiet presence. I am praying for you!

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  • Katie

    Thank you. I’ve been driving myself further into depression trying to figure out what sin is keeping me apart from God. It is so hard to see truth through all the feelings so thank you for the reminder.

    • Oh, Katie, I am sorry you are going through this! I believe that if there is sin and we are earnest in asking God for revelation in regards to it, He will not hesitate to reveal it to us because He wants us to repent and confess our sin to Him – and the sooner the better. So if you have done that and He hasn’t shown you anything, you can rest assured that He is just wanting you to trust Him full and completely.

      I have a couple of other blog posts that might be encouraging and helpful for you. One is about burden bearing – which can be confused with depression. http://aimeeimbeau.com/2016/03/14/6-critical-tips-for-healthy-burden-bearing/

      Another is a guest post about the joy-filled woman: http://worshipfulliving.com/2017/01/10/4-habits-joy-filled-woman/

      I pray that you are filled with His unspeakable joy – that is a prayer I pray over myself often.