Have you ever felt far away from someone? Perhaps from a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or a child? When we feel far away from someone in our lives, we can be in the same room and yet the distance is as great as if we were standing on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon. When that happens, it’s usually because one or the other person in the relationship is not there emotionally or mentally. In other words, someone moved.
This same thing can happen in our relationship with God. There may be times when we feel that God is far away, that He’s not with us. This can be especially true when it comes to times of trial, difficult times in our lives where we are facing sickness, hurts, or financial problems. During these times, we may ask, “God, where are you? Why have you abandoned me when I need you most?” This is exactly what David felt when he asked: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.” (Psalm 22:1–2, NLT)
But there’s a better question to ask when we feel far away from God, when it seems that He has abandoned us. The question we need to ask is, who moved?
When Paul was ministering in Athens, he found an altar that bore the inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” The people of Athens were basically saying that there could be a god that they were unaware of. Paul used that opportunity to introduce them to the one true God, the Creator of heaven and earth. As he spoke to the men of Athens, Paul explained that God created man so that, if any of us should seek God, they would find Him. Why? Because, as Paul said, God is not far from any of us (Acts 17:22-27).
So, again, here’s the question. If we feel that God is far away from us, who moved?
In Jeremiah 23:23-24 (NASB), God says, “‘Am I a God who is near,’ declares the LORD, ‘And not a God far off?’ ‘Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?’ declares the LORD. ‘Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?’ declares the LORD.” In this passage of Scripture, God Himself is pointing to the fact that he is an omnipresent God. No matter where we go, He is there.
So, again, we have the question. If we feel that God is far away, who moved?
The answer, of course, is that God did not move away from us. When we are in those times of trial, those difficult times in our lives when we believe that God is far away, we need to remember that He is only far away because we moved away from Him. And what we need to do at those times is move towards God. As it says in James 4:8, if we draw near to God, then we can be sure that He will draw near to us. We need to examine our hearts and see what has caused us to move away from God. Was it pride? Was it doubt? Was it some unconfessed sin? We must then confess that sin, or ask God to help us with our doubt. And then we need to draw near to Him. He’s always there waiting for us.
Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.