Sometimes in life, we feel like God has abandoned us. It could be because a loved one is sick, or maybe we’re going through a tough time at home or work. You may ask, “where are you God?” We need to remember that no matter who we are or where we come from or what we’ve done in life, God is never too distant.
In John chapter 4, we see a story about a man whose son is dying. He goes to Jesus and asks Him to heal his son. We see three key points in this Bible passage. We see a problem; difficulty seeing God’s work and His presence in our lives. We see a solution; a way that we can know God is present with us. And we see an invitation, a way that we can walk in God’s presence each and every day.
The problem is that entitlement blockades our vision of God’s work.
If we give into entitlement, we will see God as a cosmic vending machine. The quarters and the currency that we put into the vending machine are our good deeds and behaviors. We ultimately think, “You know what God, I’ve earned this. I put in quarters and punch in the code, and out comes what I think I deserve. You give me this and you give me that and when you don’t, I’m going to kick the machine because that’s what I want.” But the truth is, just because He isn’t working the way we want Him to work, doesn’t mean that He isn’t working.
The solution is that we will see God’s intentions when we take Jesus at His word.
Jesus will not always answer our requests, exactly how we ask. God has a far greater understanding and hopes and intentions than we could ever imagine once we take Jesus at His word. Jesus is calling us into the shallow end of the pool where we sit and we begin to see faith, but ultimately, he is inviting us. Whenever we see God’s intentions, we begin to see his presence in our lives. When we take Jesus at His word we begin to move to the deep end of the pool and the deep end of faith, which leads us to have a deeper and far more robust and abiding faith in Jesus Christ.
The invitation is that you’ve got to believe it to see it.
Sometimes we ask ourselves, “What if God doesn’t heal? What if God is still distant? Can we still have faith?” The answer is yes. We need to believe that He is present, that God is bringing His hope and healing to us. Whenever we begin to take God at His word, we begin to see His character and attributes on display. God is close to the brokenhearted and the crushed in spirit, the Lord will restore us, He will make us firm and steadfast. In His presence there is fullness of joy. We need to believe that He is present, and when we begin to believe, we will then see that He is working around us.
When we take Jesus at His word, we believe that He wants something far greater for us. This can change how we pray, trusting that God has our best intentions in mind. When God feels distant in times of hardship, we can turn to the Bible and the attributes of God to remind us that God has not abandoned us.
Pastor Zac Bush explores this question of faith further in his message titled What Do I Do When God Feels Distant? View the full message in our website archive or on our YouTube channel.