God Seems Distant: How Can I Connect With God?

by Robert Driskell · Print Print · Email Email

There may be times in our lives, both Christian and non-Christian, where we feel like God is a million miles away.  We may feel like there is no way we can reach Him.  Why do we feel this way?  What separates us from God?  How can we rectify this situation?

Sin Separates Us From God

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), He created everything ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31).  The universe was perfect and humanity had a perfect relationship with God. Tragically, humankind abused the privilege of choice and chose to disobey God.  This brought sin and corruption into the universe and severed the once perfect relationship we had with God (Romans 5:12).  The biblical record tells us that sin separates us from the relationship with God that we were meant to enjoy.  The rest of history is the story of God providing the remedy for humanity’s sinful condition.

As long as our rebellious hearts continue rejecting God, we will be separated from Him.  This applies to all people, “For the wages of sin is death…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 6:23a, 3:23 ESV).  This verse tells us that this sinful condition is every person’s condition, not just some people.

God Is Not Far From Any Of Us

The good news is that God has provided the way of salvation for us through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.  Not only that, but the Bible says that God so orchestrates events and circumstances of life so that men and women will have the opportunity to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved (Acts 17:26).  The Bible also says that God arranges things so that people, “should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27 ESV).  God makes it possible for people to know the truth and choose to follow the truth into a saving relationship with Him (Psalm 34:18, 119:151, 145:18; Jeremiah 23:23-24).

Now Is The Time

It is a sad truth that many people think that they will have time to dedicate their lives to God at some later date.  For too many, they do not get that opportunity.  The Bible tells us that we need to commit our lives to God now, not later, “For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2 ESV).

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7 ESV).  Why put off living the best possible life we could live, the life that God intended for us to live?  Many, by putting off this decision, have missed their chance altogether.  God has done everything to make a relationship with Him possible, all we have to do is to willfully enter into that relationship by exercising faith in Jesus Christ.

What Do I Have To Do?

The Bible tells us that, “…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).  Jesus Christ paid the cost when He died on the cross; there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, He has done it all.  Our response to His sacrifice is what determines our eternal destiny.

“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:8-11 ESV).  The gist of this passage tells us that, when we truly believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord of our lives, that truth will naturally be something we proclaim; because it will be too great a truth to keep locked up within us.

There are many today that exercise a half-hearted allegiance to God and think they are saved when they are not.  A saving faith can be no other than a whole-hearted commitment to Him

There are many today that exercise a half-hearted allegiance to God and think they are saved when they are not. A saving faith can be no other than a whole-hearted commitment to Him

There Can Be No Half-hearted Commitment To God

A commitment to God must be just that: a commitment.  There are many today that exercise a half-hearted allegiance to God and think they are saved when they are not.  A saving faith can be no other than a whole-hearted commitment to Him, as is repeated often in the Bible, “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29 ESV, cf. Jeremiah 29:13).  We were created to have fellowship with God and only in this way will our lives be complete and our purpose be realized.

Conclusion

God has done everything needed for us to be reconciled to Him.  He has paid the price for our sins by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for you and me.  He has placed the knowledge of Himself within the heart of every man.  It is up to us to decide whether we will serve God or serve ourselves.  God has determined to make it possible for us to choose; the decision belongs to each of us.  When we choose to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, body, and strength we will experience the closeness of a right relationship with Him.  There is no better way to live…for now, and for eternity.

Take a look at this related post about making a decision to follow Christ today:

What is the Romans Road To Salvation?

Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

ANNE CARLTON September 26, 2013 at 8:05 am

plzz notify me of all your writings about GOD , heaven, hell, or any bible study. thnxx plzz ====anne carlton

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Robert September 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

Hi Anne,
Thanks for reading and commenting. If you click on my name in the grey box just above, it lists all of my articles on this website. I hope they are a blessing to you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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DocReits September 27, 2013 at 2:07 am

Hey Robert,

Thanks for your time and effort here. You lay out the facts of our sin leading to separation from God and ultimately death (Rom 6:23). You state:

“As long as our rebellious hearts continue rejecting God, we will be separated from Him. ….. this sinful condition is every person’s condition, not just some people.”

I think a necessary step for folks to understand is that the reason we are enemies of God is because we have disobeyed His commandments. Yes, this is rejecting God, but many don’t believe in God and others who do, have a hard time understanding how they have rejected Him. They do believe in their conscience though and it is there that God has written His law (Jer 31:33, Rom 2:15). Secondly, the Law is perfect converting the soul (Pr 19:7). Men need to hear the Law as it is the Law which stops their mouths(Rom 3:19), allowing their hearts to acknowledge their guilt before the God who made them.

So as we tell people His Law (the 10 commandments), most will admit that they have lied, stolen, blasphemed and lusted as an example. Those are just four of the commandments mostly all have broken. Once they acknowledge that they have failed to keep the Law, then they can better understand that they are condemned before the righteous Judge who made those Laws. This is called “sin”.

Under your title , “What Do I Have To Do?”, you mention that, “There are many today that exercise a half-hearted allegiance to God and think they are saved when they are not”. Very true! I would conjecture that over 50% in the church are not saved. IMO, it is because most do not realize a key ingredient that has been lost in today’s Gospel. It is also absent from your article.

When Peter on the day of Pentecost preached to the multitudes, they were convicted of their sins, once confronted, and asked, “What must we do to be saved?” Peter said to them, “Repent, …each one of you … for the forgiveness of your sins”(Acts 2:38).

Jesus’s first command in the Bible when He began His ministry was “Repent!” as was John the Baptist. Repentance for sin is crucial and then with Christ’s help, once saved, a continual turning away from sin (sin being a sowing to the flesh) and a turning toward’s God (sowing to the Spirit) is the saint’s task as he/she takes up their cross daily to follow Him. I love what you say here:

“There are many today that exercise a half-hearted allegiance to God and think they are saved when they are not. A saving faith can be no other than a whole-hearted commitment to Him” Agreed! Because they have said a simple sinner’s prayer and have been told they are good to go. 98% of Crusade “conversions” are false with no evidence of living Christian lives in follow up research. They have been given only half of the Gospel!

The evidence of our allegiance is in knowing God. How do we know if we know Him? …”If we keep His commandments” (1 Jn 2:3).

I appreciate your heart in yearning to make clear the concept of the half vs whole hearted attempt in following Christ. My contention is that there are many folks who are guilt ridden in this effort because they are not saved and therefore they find it impossible, which it is, to have victory over sin in their lives because they are not born again and do not have Christ’s nature/spirit within them.

The first step in salvation is understanding that they have broken God’s Law and are therefore under God’s judgment and hell awaits all of us without Christ. The next step is to repent (turn away from) ..forsaking their sin. The next is to put on Christ as their only hope, accepting God’s great mercy and love (God loving them so much that He gave His only son…not wanting them to go to hell). Cling to Christ with all of your strength!!

The sinner protests, “But hell is such a cruel idea, after all I have done good things in my life, and are you really telling me that a loving God would send me to a place of torment forever?” Isn’t it the responsibility and duty of a just judge to give the criminal justice? Do you want Hitler to get a pass? God’s moral Law has a high standard and no murderers, rapists, liars, thieves, blasphemers, etc are going to get a free pass. But God loves us so much He sent Jesus, so as we repent of our sins and accept Jesus as our bail bondsman who paid the penalty for our sin, our guilty sentence is commuted and we are free!!

That is why Jesus is the only one we can run to for forgiveness. Joseph Smith, Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, the Popes, and all the rest were mere men. Jesus, the perfect sinless one, God Himself, the spotless lamb, was the only One who was worthy to pay the price to satisfy God’s justice on behalf of all of the redeemed who have run to Him. How can we escape if we neglect so Great salvation?(Heb 2:3)

Next time we, the saved, are tempted to sin let us think about the fact that God hates sin just as much as He loves us. For look how much God had to pay to redeem us from sin’s cost. If God hates sin that much, and we, the redeemed, have God within us…shouldn’t we abhor sin just as much?

Sorry for getting a little(lot) preachy. I am just so excited about the great hope we have in Him…;-)

Blessings,

DocReits

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Robert September 27, 2013 at 6:52 am

You make some excellent points in your comment and you are absolutely correct about repentance being necessary for salvation. I should have included that in my article; however, I think God has used you to expand on what I’ve written and, together, present a full picture of our part in God’s great gift of salvation. May God continue to bless you and may you continue to be excited about the great hope we have.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Carol Weber November 5, 2015 at 8:58 am

Hello Robert, I am a Christian woman and I have known the Lord for over 38 years and I have had a wonderful relationship with Him for most of these years. My problem right now is that for the past 2 years or so, I have felt the absence of God in my life. I have started also in the past few months to be assailed with doubt and unbelief that just comes out of the blue. I am so scared that I am losing my faith because I cannot feel it. There are times when I fell that He has turned His back on me or left me completely. I know that the Bible says that He will never leave me or forsake me but I feel so forsaken. I cry out to Him daily to take this away from me, but hear nothing and like I have said this has been going on for a long time. I do smoke cigarettes and I have been praying for God to deliver me from this nasty habit, but so far I have been a failure. Would this be the reason that He has turned His back on me. I feel so lost and scared and I miss my best Friend. I feel like I am grieving every day and cannot find His Peace or Joy in my life. Please, Help me.

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Robert November 5, 2015 at 11:25 am

Carol,
God has not turned His back on you; as you said, “He will never leave you nor forsake you”. God still loves you very much and His promises have not changed.

I will also say that you are not alone. I would imagine every Christian has been where you are at least once. Having doubts about your faith is normal, as long as you don’t let it get the best of you. Doubts can even drive us to a deeper understanding and a deeper faith.

Think back to why you became a Christian in the first place. Think back to what God did for you, and to you, when you first committed your life to Him.

Do you have specific doubts about specific issues? Or do you just not FEEL saved anymore? Feelings can be very misleading, but facts (truths) remain unchanged…rock solid.

Think back to the time when you first remember having doubts. Did you start doing anything differently? Did you stop doing something that you used to do (prayer, attending church, studying/reading your Bible)? Did something happen in your life to cause you to doubt God’s faithfulness?

If God has laid it on your heart that you need to stop smoking, then your reluctance/refusal to do so may indeed have some bearing on your sense of doubt. There was a sin in my life that I refused to let go of (it might not be a sin for someone else, but it was for me) and God dealt pretty strongly with me until I repented of it and stopped doing it. Maybe He is dealing with you about your smoking (or some other sin). However, I know that anything He wants us to do, He also provides the ability to carry it out.

I hope this helps. Most of all, I would just encourage you to trust Him. Find a solid Bible-believing church to attend and/or a Christian friend in whom to confide. We are meant to function as a body of believers, supporting one another. We here at this site will be in prayer for you. Please keep us up to date with how you are doing.

Yours in Christ,
Robert

I have included a couple of article links you might want to look at:

http://christianmomthoughts.com/5-things-to-do-when-youre-struggling-with-faith-doubts/

https://www.probe.org/dealing-with-doubt/

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/when-god-is-silent-why-does-god-not-seem-to-be-answering-my-prayer/

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/why-should-i-trust-god-i-feel-like-giving-up/

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/prayers-hindered-7-ways-to-obstruct-your-prayers-to-god/

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Jack Wellman November 5, 2015 at 11:26 am

What an excellent response my friend. Rock solid. Thank you for your godly wisdom and I thank God for you. I am praying for Carol.

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Barb September 27, 2013 at 9:39 am

Hi, Robert,

What if you are a true follower of Christ, but you suddenly do not feel the closeness you did at first? I have prayed and searched my heart for a sin I may have committed that is causing seperation, but do not know of anything. I have prayed to Jesus to reveal what is causing the feeling of separation to no avail. Are you able to help me?

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Robert September 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Hi Barb,
First, thanks for reading and commenting, it’s good to have you here.
There are several ways of looking at your situation; one is that you are still just as close to God as you ever were, but you simply don’t FEEL like you are. Let me illustrate this way, a young couple fall in love and they are just giddy about each other (butterflies in the stomach, can’t sleep at night in anticipation of seeing their loved one the next day, etc.). This couple gets married and, twenty years later, they don’t have those same feelings (giddiness, butterflies, sleeplessness). Does that mean they don’t love each other like they used to? Certainly not. If anything, they probably love each other more now than then. So, don’t trust how you FEEL, trust the truth of God’s Word.
I would suggest you read these articles, as they may help shed some light on your issue: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/when-god-is-silent-why-does-god-not-seem-to-be-answering-my-prayer/
http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/why-should-i-trust-god-i-feel-like-giving-up/
http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/prayers-hindered-7-ways-to-obstruct-your-prayers-to-god/
Most importantly, continue to seek after God and His Will; the Bible tells us to keep seeking and keep knocking (Mathew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10). This means that, no matter what the circumstances (or feelings) in our lives, we should continue to trust God to see us through. God bless you, Barb. I’m praying for you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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DocReits September 27, 2013 at 10:48 am

Thank you for your kind reply Robert. It is incredible to me how God calls us to simply obey Him. Loving God and our neighbor being the foundation of obedience. Accepting the gift of His son through repentance and faith our reasonable service.

This mystery of God, showering us with the riches of His glory has been revealed to us…this mystery being God in Christ and Christ in us…the Gospel (Col 1:27). God’s heart is so waiting/wanting to shower us with His blessing as we respond to Him.

“O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them” (Deuteronomy 5:29)!”

Your brother,

DocReits

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Michael Kampff September 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Thanks for the article. Thought provoking.

Do you feel it is too simplistic to say that you will feel “close” to God when you do what He says? He gives us commands / guidance / calls to action, etc.. isn’t the bottom line that those who obey completely are those that trust Him fully? By trusting Him, you are demonstrating love and relationship with Him, and therefore will feel the closeness with God we crave?

The bottom line is if we don’t do what He says, we’re turning our back on Him and it would be foolish to expect to feel “close” or in intimate relationship with Him.

I think that obedience starts with His commands in the Bible, but it would also include participating in what He is doing today, around us. If we don’t engage in His will in the ways He’s presenting to us, then we are still turning our back on Him. He works through us, and the best way to feel His presence is to be a conduit of His love in the world.

What do you think?

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Robert September 30, 2013 at 9:54 am

Hi Michael,
Thanks for reading and commenting. I may not have made myself as clear as I could have, so let me expand on the subject a bit. I think the Bible teaches that obedience to God is a very important facet of a correct relationship with God. However, this obedience must flow from our love, respect, worship of Him. In other words, we obey Him, not to earn favor or points, but because we love Him and are grateful for the salvation He has provided.
The Bible does also teach that a true faith is an active faith (James). The Bible teaches us that we are the body of Jesus; He works through us to affect His will on the earth. So, you are correct when you say we should be actively involved in His will, and work, on this earth. Our entire existence should be centered around our love for God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Once again, thank you for your correspondence and insight.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Michael Kampff September 30, 2013 at 10:37 am

Amen! Thanks for the reply and confirmation I’m understanding His word correctly on this point.

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Patricia Schneider October 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Hello, Robert!
Another terrific article with Scriptures!
Enjoyed the comments and your replies to them. I just love ALL the writers on this site, “What Christians Want To Know” as you are all truly inspired by God’s Holy Spirit.
Since I’ve began re-reading and studying God’s Word, sooo happy to say that Father & I now have such a close, loving, wonderful relationship!! God really ‘talks’ to us when we read His Word with faith and love!
God’s wonderful blessings and graces for you, Robert, and your family!!
ALL PRAISES, GLORY AND HONOR BE UNTO OUR FATHER GOD, HIS SON, JESUS, HIS HOLY SPIRIT!!!
Always, your Sis in Christ Jesus ~ Patty

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