Why does it sometimes feel like God is far away?
God Hasn’t Gone Anywhere
God promised his people, The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you (Dt 31:5). Yet sometimes God seems distant. During such times, the ever-present God hasn’t gone anywhere. Instead, specific obstacles we create or experience can make God seem far away.
The Obstacle of Busyness
One obstacle is busyness. Our overloaded schedules can crowd out time with God and make it difficult to sense his presence in our lives. When Jesus arrived for dinner at the home of friends, Martha chose to busy herself with kitchen duties while her sister sat at the feet of Jesus and was commended for doing what was better (Lk 10:38–42). Busyness isn’t next to godliness. In fact, our crammed calendars can cause us to miss connecting with God daily.
The Obstacle of Stuff
A second obstacle is “stuff,” or possessions. In Matthew 19:16–22, Jesus urged a man to sell all he had and to follow him, but the man went away sad, because he had great wealth (Mt 19:22). Unfortunately, possessions and wealth can prevent people from pursuing Jesus. He warned, Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Mt 6:21). So, if our hearts wander after more and more stuff, we will have little room for God.
The Obstacle of Sin
A third obstacle is sin. Christians can be secure in their relationship with God because their sins have been forgiven through Jesus’ death on the cross. But lingering sin in our lives can still stand in the way of present fellowship with God. Fortunately, when we confess our sin, repent and obey God, we will feel the Father’s love and personal presence once again (Jn 14:23, 25–27).
Content adapted from the NIV Quest Study Bible, which features over 7,000 notes written in an engaging question and answer format that give insight into the common, uncommon, and sometimes perplexing passages from the Bible.