18 Questions to Ask When God Seems Far

Nov 6, 2014Q & A with Mary

Kerry Dee asks this question:

Hi Mary. I have a question that really puzzles me. I am a Christian but somewhere along the way, I lost being comforted by my faith. I don’t have “the peace that passes all understanding” ever. Scripture doesn’t comfort me, nor prayer, nor anything. I am never relieved or encouraged or feel better. I know its not about all feelings..but it seems to me that others enjoy this blessing. I know scripture is filled with comforting words, bit I am immune to them. Have you ever heard of this? Any ideas? Its hard to turn to God for help with problems when I feel nothing. Thank you so much!!

Kerry, thank you for being so very honest. I love your question. Why? Because it shows you’re longing for more in your relationship with Jesus. I’m not sure if my answer will be a comfort to you or not, but I pray it will be.

I’ve had this same experience, and I think many people who are truly honest will share that they have felt this way too.

Sometimes God seems near enough to touch. Other times His distance (or seeming distance) stings.

Here’s what I’ve done in light of feeling like a spiritual zombie. I take an inventory of my life to see where maybe I have backpedaled:

  1. Am I spending time in God’s Word? (I will be very honest here. Lately, as I’ve battled sadness these past few months, I’ve neglected this. I’ve interacted with the Bible as a writer, but not simply quietly reading the Bible). Every time I’ve picked it up for quiet pleasure, I am renewed. But it’s easy to back away, or rationalize not reading it. That doesn’t mean God only reaches us through His word, but it is one good place.
  2. Am I spending time alone in quiet? Again, when life rushes out of control, I feel very disconnected to Him. When I stop and quiet myself, I don’t have all the voices, noise, and cultural hollering to mess with my attention.
  3. Have I prayed specifically that He will reach me in me-shaped ways? I finally prayed this last week, and I boldly asked for the same prayer from my life group at church. The result? Oh my. God surprised me with random texts, comments on this blog, and people coming out of the woodwork saying things like, “I don’t know why, but God has laid you on my heart.”
  4. Have I harbored bitterness?
  5. Is there someone I haven’t forgiven?
  6. Am I near burnout?
  7. Am I spending time with people who love Jesus?
  8. Have I given more of my attention to bullies who undermine my worth than the still, small voice of God? (You’ll be surprised at how this can alienate you from God.)
  9. Am I healthy? Am I eating well, exercising, creating good boundaries in my relationships?
  10. Have I taken time to sing to Jesus? Every one is different, I know. But my personal way to connect with Him is through song. Often I find I need to turn on my worship music when I’m feeling particularly disconnected. It helps me redirect my heart to Him.
  11. Have I asked others to pray for my feeling numb or distant from God?
  12. Have I truly internalized the truth that God’s love for me is not dependent on me or my performance, but on Jesus and His performance? Sometimes we feel small and unworthy, but the truth is His affection for us is based on Jesus, not on us. Thank God for that!
  13. Do I need medication to battle a longer period of numbness or depression? How are my seratonin levels?
  14. Have I been honest about my anger with God? Meaning, maybe He didn’t answer a prayer I’ve prayed before, or He brought very frustrating circumstances in my life. My response is to disconnect from Him, not trust Him, or stuff my anger. The truth? He already knows our anger, why not just be honest? His shoulders are big enough to shoulder it.
  15. Have I explored other spiritual disciplines like fasting, contemplation, prayer, etc?
  16. Have I considered taking a weekend off for a spiritual retreat to reconnect with Jesus?
  17. Am I tired?
  18. Have some relationships in my life drained the vitality from me?

I’m sure there are other questions you could ask. And I may not have even got at what is working or not working in your walk of faith. But what I can do is pray for you:

Jesus, I pray for Kerry that You would show up in her life in Kerry-shaped ways, ways that she would know You are mindful of her. Send friends and messengers into her life who are Your arms, feet, and voice to her. Give her hope and peace and assurance. Renew her. Be near. Help her to discern how to reconnect, how to position herself to hear from You. But beyond all that, please, please Jesus, reveal Your heart and love to her this very week. Amen.