Finding Hope When God Feels Far Away

The sun slowly disappears. Your pain, your mistakes, and your worries come rushing in. The night has begun. Whispers find their way to your mind, telling you no one’s here. No one cares. No one understands.

Where is God when you need Him most? You can’t help but wonder if He’s still here.

“Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck…I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.” 

Those words were written by a man like you and me. He felt alone. He felt like everyone was against Him. He cried and called out for Someone to save Him. Where was God in the midst of His pain? Why wasn’t He doing anything?

So much of the time we think that, because we’re followers of God, life isn’t supposed to be hard. We have doubts and worries, but don’t let anyone in to help us through them. Instead, we sugarcoat our lives, trying to make it look like we’re okay when we’re not.

David was called ‘a man after God’s own heart’. Believe it or not, he was the one who penned the words above (Psalm 69:1-3). He was nowhere near perfect. Certain times in his life, he messed up pretty bad. He, too, went through times when he felt far away from God.

It wasn’t his lack of struggles that made him a man after God’s own heart. It was what he did with those struggles. 

Even Jesus went through a period of intense suffering, not just physically, but emotionally. Before He died, the weight of all of our sins were upon Him. Imagine the worst thing you’ve ever done and how you felt afterwards. Now, times that by infinity.

In those last moments, Jesus cried out and asked His Father to take away that terrible cup of suffering. Not only did He have the weight of sin upon Him, but He also knew that an indescribable amount of physical suffering was headed His way.

Our natural response to hardship and pain is to reject it. We look for someone to blame. We look for ways to avoid it. Notice what Jesus did.

“’Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’” (Luke 22:42)

Often times, we only ask God to take away our hardship. Hardly ever do we ask that His will be done, even if that means we have to go through something tough and difficult.

Sometimes, it’s easy to blame God for making us go through trails (more on this in a future article), even though He isn’t the one causing our pain. Sometimes, we feel like He’s left us to go through life on our own. It’s in those times when we have to look back on what He’s already done.

God has never failed to keep a promise and He won’t start now.

Satan does all he can to whisper lies to us. It’s his goal to make us believe that God doesn’t really care; that He isn’t here when we need Him.

Let me tell you, I’ve had my share of times when it feels like God is distant. Just like David, we might feel like we’re being overwhelmed by the waters of loneliness and doubt. Our first response doesn’t have to be blame.

“But as for me, my prayer is to You, Lordin the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, Hear me in the truth of Your salvation. Deliver me out of the mire, And let me not sink; Let me be delivered from those who hate me, And out of the deep waters. Let not the floodwater overflow me, Nor let the deep swallow me up; And let not the pit shut its mouth on me.” (Psalm 69:13-15)

David didn’t let himself stay in the pit of despair. Though His circumstances remained the same for a time, he changed his response. Instead of blaming God for being far away, He held tight to what he knew. He had never been alone. God was with him, even in the midst of trails and hardship.

Whatever we’re going through, God is going through it with us. It’s time we realize the life-changing truth: We’ve never been alone.

What are your thoughts?

Has there been a time in your life when God felt far away? How did you respond?

Are you ready to grab hold of God’s promises, trusting that He won’t let you down? If so, I encourage you to tell Him.

When we choose to fully surrender to and seek God, His promises are right here, ready for us to claim and cling to.