When God Feels Distant

Spiritual experiences can be amazing! Our deep spiritual moments are all personal and unique and are a big way we as Christians get to experience God. In case you are not brushed up on your “Christian-ese” we often call great spiritual experiences a “mountain top experience.” The background to this saying is from Mark chapter 9 where Jesus took Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain. There they saw Jesus transfigured in all His glory. The bible says: “His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.” I can only imagine what this might have looked like to the disciples; such an amazing experience that could not be justly described in words I’m sure. The bible states that Peter not knowing what to say asked Jesus if they could stay there. He wanted to build three tabernacles on the mountain. He was so amazed by what was going on he didn’t want to leave. Just after that the bible says: “And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!’” After this experience Jesus brought them down the mountain and immediately the disciples run into trouble. They come across a demon possessed boy and they cannot cast out the demon. Jesus out of frustration says: “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you?” He then casts the demon out Himself.

I can relate to Peter in this story a lot in the sense that I often wish we could just live on the mountain top. I have had some experiences where I feel so close to God and His presence is unmistakable. These experiences are amazing and very encouraging. During these experiences I wish I could always feel this way—much like Peter wanted to stay on the mountain—but the truth is we are not meant to live on the mountain. The mountain top experiences help inspire us and drive us so that we can live fruitfully in the valley. We absorb the light on top of the mountain and are to bring it back down to the valley, where we live to be the light in darkness.

I’ll be honest and say that sometimes God can seem quite far away. I don’t know why this is. I know the Bible states that He is always with us and I know that He is, but I do not always “feel” this way. Often God can feel shrouded. Spiritual highs are often followed by spiritual lows. This process tests my faith and can be very trying. The best thing to do is to take these experiences and learn from them. We are to learn not to depend on our feelings but on our knowledge of Him. From the mountain top we learn of who Jesus is. We are to take this knowledge back to the valley where we live in confidence knowing He is there even if He “feels” distant.

Jesus says to His disciples: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” If you’re a Christian living in a dark valley today then rejoice! Know that this is where God has placed you. It is His will to have you there so that you can be a light to the darkness. Sometimes we might feel like there’s nothing that could be done in the situation we are in to please God but Oswald Chamber’s has written: “Never allow this thought—’I am of no use where I am,’ because you certainly can be of no use where you are not!”

The Father said: “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” The Son said: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20). So even if Jesus may feel far from you know that He is in fact near. His presence is in the present. He was and IS and is to come!

The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me

(Psalm 23:1-4)

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]

3 thoughts on “When God Feels Distant

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