What do you do when God seems far away from you?

by Benjamin Burks on March 2, 2011 · 1 comment

For several years now, I have preached on the weekends from the Luke 15 passage on the prodigal son. This passage continues to amaze me with practical truths for helping those that oppose themselves. The chapter opens with two different categories of people: those who need help and know it, and those who have need of nothing (according to their opinion).

One group longs to see Jesus, the other hides behind a cloak of self-righteousness thinking they are “all that and a bag of chips”, if you know what I mean! This group, though seemingly close to Jesus according to outward appearance, were far away from Him in reality. They had deceived themselves, thinking that their good works had caused them to “arrive”.

Often those who hide from the Father “in religion” do not stop long enough to see their misery, or refuse to acknowledge it. They have a coping mechanism of good works masking their misery. On the other hand, those who hide from the Father in rebellion usually end up in the “pig pen” and realize how far away they have gone, though often not knowing how to get back.

In Luke 15, two of the three parables about something lost have a common theme: It is not God Who is far away from the sinner, but it is the sinner who is far away from God.

It is not the shepherd who wandered away from that sheep, but the sheep that decided to wander away from the shepherd.

It is not the father who decided to abandon his son to the attractions of this world, but the son who decided to wander away and try another scene, another way of fulfillment.

God is always there for us. It is us who wander away and experience the emptiness of being far away from God. God will NEVER abandon us! We are TOO PRECIOUS in His eyes!

Then why do we sometimes feel that God is so far away from us? It is simple: our sins cause us to feel that separation. The prophet Isaiah wrote:
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear”. (Isaiah 59:2)

What can you do about this? It’s simple. Like the prodigal son, you must come back to your Heavenly Father. You must come home. Your sin brings “built- in” condemnation with it. The Bible teaches us that sin has a wage and that wage is death. The word death is not speaking of annihilation, but rather separation. It is what causes us to feel like God is so very, very far from us. In reality, He is as close as the mention of His name.

I grew up with a song called “He’s as Close as the Mention of His Name”. Read the words below and seek Him today:
In the very thought of Jesus His presence can be found
He’s as close as the mention of His name

There is never any distance between my Lord and me
He’s as close as the mention of His name
He’s as close as the mention of His name
Jesus, Jesus

He’s as close as the mention of His name
Jesus, Jesus

In my hour of struggle so many times I’ve found
He’s as close as the mention of His name
Just to breathe the name of Jesus can turn everything around
He’s as close as the mention of His name

At Reformers Unanimous, we talk to God and God talks to us. This is two-thirds of what we do in our recovery class. If you are far from the Lord today, reach out to Him in prayer. Go to a place where others commune with Him. Call our hotline for suggestions today – (866)REFORMU.

Perhaps you are one who can say that you worked for Him all weekend. Perhaps you sang in the choir, ushered, served on a bus route, worked in Jr. Church, drove a bus, or taught a Sunday School class. To everyone around you, you seem to have a great relationship with the Father…yet on the inside, you feel distant. I ask you today, without delay, to begin to change your thought processes.

Change from your religions thinking (work-based way of thinking to please the Lord) to relational living (by grace alone through faith- even for sanctification!)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

bunmi March 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm

God is good a very help in time of trouble. It is refreshing reading the above words of edification.


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