5 Reasons God May Seem Distant from You

Every believer has experienced a sense of separation from God at some point on the journey. It can be overwhelming to experience. One of the most crippling things about a time like that is being unaware of why that is happening.

Here are 5 reasons God may seem distant from you:

#1. Unconfessed Sin

First, you could miss the presence of God due to unconfessed sin.  We can’t experience the presence of God fully when we treasure sin more intensely.  God’s presence doesn’t demand moral perfection, but a callous heart (Eph. 4:19) ultimately disdains the nearness of God due to a greater acceptance for sin.  The psalmist declared that “if I had been aware of malice in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Ps. 66:18).  A casual acceptance of the presence of sin without a desire to fight against it is a casual acceptance of the lack of the presence of God.  You can’t hide yourself from the one who fills heaven and earth (Jer. 23:23-24).

#2. Incorrect Doctrine

Second, you could experience distance due to incorrect doctrine.  A failure to accept this transformational doctrine of God’s nearness will result in divine distance.  If you don’t believe God to desire nearness with you, why would you ever anticipate experiencing it?  God doesn’t send a shepherd for us, he becomes a shepherd to us (Ezek. 34:11, 15).  Our God is near to us whenever we call upon him (Deut. 4:7)!  We are unable even to flee from his presence (Ps. 139:7).  

#3. Troubling Circumstances

Third, beware of the effects of troubling circumstances.  Every trial will either bring you closer to God or further from God.  God dwells in the place where we need him most (Ps. 68:5-6).  It is to our folly if we assume God’s distance in our troubles while failing to realize his presence is the only thing keeping us afloat.  Instead of giving an annotated list of responses to Job’s questions, God instead gave him his presence (Job 38:1) to which Job’s questions were forgotten and his mouth was covered (Job 40:4).  Once Job had graduated from hearing about God to hearing from God (Job 42:5-6), his theology and perspective were instantaneously healed.

#4. Contented Remoteness

Fourth, many people suffer due to a sense of contented remoteness.  You have simply accepted that following God from a distance is the only option. You feel remote from God, and you have just gotten used to it. Too many of us have accepted that abiding intimacy is too far from our grasp.  Like Saul, we want to make brilliant strategies for our lives on our own, but we need to draw near to God before taking another step (1 Sam. 14:36).  

#5. Negligent Effort

Finally, it’s difficult to experience the immanence of God when we give it negligent effort.  It’s hard to get closer to God if we aren’t making any attempts to do so.  Just like a married couple can be seated physically beside one another and yet emotionally be in different timezones, God’s presence is so readily available but you aren’t taking advantage of it.  If we serve a God who wants you to call him “Father” when you pray (Luke 11:2), what does that mean about his willingness to connect?  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you (James 4:8).  Seek him with all your heart (Jer. 29:13) – not just some of your heart.

Do you feel disconnected from God? Identify which reason you might be separate, and get to work to address the chasm. The nearness of God is your good (Ps. 73:28).

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