What Do I Do When I Don’t Feel Close to God?

Recently, I was asked to share what I do when I do not feel close to God.   In the hope that you may be encouraged (as I was as I formed my answer), here is how I responded.

When I find myself not feeling close to God…

First, I remind myself that this is a frailty common to man, and while it should not be treated lightly, it is not unexpected.   God will work this, too, for my good!

Next, I thank God for making me aware of this lack of closeness and causing me to care about it (because I know there are many who are not close to Him and do not even realize it or care much).   As I pray, I recall former times when there was a sweet intimacy and I ask Him to work in my heart, pulling me away from whatever is currently usurping or disturbing my affections, and again moving my heart toward Him.

I read works written by people who know/knew God well.  I find many Puritan works especially helpful, such as those by John Bunyan, John Flavel and Jeremiah Burroughs.

I spend time meditating on the greatness of God–          

  • His sovereignty
  • His power
  • His love for His people
  • Etc.

I tell someone close to me, such as my husband, how I am feeling and ask him to pray for me (sometimes I will ask a few others as well).

I review all I’ve learned from the psalmists who felt far away from God.  I read and reread psalms such as Psalm 73, 77 and 88 and review the notes I made when I first studied and wrote lessons on these psalms.

Finally, I wait on God.  Intimacy with God is not just something I can wish into being or produce on my own . . . as with everything else, it is a gift from God.  I know He is faithful and will bring me into greater intimacy with Himself in His own timing.  So, as I thankfully and expectantly wait,  I do the things I know to do which foster intimacy (Bible reading and study, prayer, meditation, confession, talking about God with others, etc.) and I constantly remind myself that even though I do not feel close to God, He is close . . . and my lack of feeling does nothing to diminish the reality of His care and love for me.


Taking Inventory

Happy New Year. 2010 WOW! I am looking forward to this coming year. In my house this is a significant year, because our oldest child is graduating High School. Very exciting! With the start of the new year, I always enjoy looking back at the last year. I enjoy watching the “year in review” on the news shows and reading the “best of” lists in the paper. I find it interesting to be reminded of the significant stories of the year. As I look at them or hear them on the news, some of them I remember and sometimes it’s, “oh wow, I didn’t remember that”. While reviewing the history of the world around me, I also like to look back and take inventory of my own life.

In my family life 2009 was spent keeping up with two teenagers. Keeping up with them physically, by driving them places and attending their events and keeping up with them mentally and spiritually as they grow and face life’s challenges. Parenting teenagers requires much strength!

In my spiritual life I look back on 2009 and ask, What did I learn? Where did I grow? Where did I struggle? Upon reflection, I notice that I learned some new things, like what Paul taught in 1 Thessalonians about how to disciple people you love, and how God is our comfort. I’d like to write more on that sometime. Last year I was reminded of some truths, like, what you watch and listen to has a direct impact on your thoughts and therefore your actions. This is a truth I have to constantly be reminded of. I don’t know why it doesn’t sink in more thoroughly, but I do know that when I see my weakness, I am humbled and reminded of God’s mercy.

So, I’ve learned something new, been reminded of truths I already know, and I continued to wade through difficult theology that takes time to learn. One thing I am trying to understand is the idea that it is God’s power in me that allows me to become Holy. It is not just me doing things (although there are things I must do). I am still learning what it means that it is God who does it. I am purposing this year to study more and learn more from scripture on this subject. It is clear in God’s word that it is He who works in us, but how this happens in my life on a day to day basis is not clear to me. I’ll let you know what I learn!

I encourage you too to take inventory of the past year. You too hopefully learned something new and continued to grow in old and new areas.

To God be the Glory!!