Tuesday, October 4, 2016

When God Seems Distant

God is omnipresent, yet sometimes he seems far away. If you’ve ever thought about that deeply, you might have assumed that he is immediately available and wondered why you can’t feel or sense his presence. I can believe that you might even race ahead to the next logical conclusion that either you must then be of no value to him (since he isn’t there) or alternately that he does not exist.

Believing in God requires walking this life without seeing everything. That’s faith. 

“All of us have had our faith tested by precious blessings delayed, vicious attacks of those who wanted to destroy our faith, temptations to sin, and selfish interests that reduced our efforts to cultivate and soften the spiritual depths of our hearts.” (Eyring)

In the test of faith, some of us give up faith. This post will describe ways to feel or sense God after a test of faith.

The soil of the heart is fertile for planting seeds of all kinds. Seeds are ideas that manifest fruit over time. Each of us has the choice to recultivate the soil in preparation for the word of God to grow and be fruitful.

When God seems distant or unresponsive, the ego assumes that he moved away when actually we have distanced ourselves. To recultivate a feeling or sense of His presence we must make a move to come closer to Him.

3 Ways to Move Closer
  • Pray with full purpose of heart while listening to the words of a person with faith. Their words can stir up and inspire faith in you.
  • Join with others who have faith. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, … behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you.” D&C 6:32
  • Read the Word of God which contains the testimonies of prophets who had pure faith and saw the realization of their faith.

“To draw closer to the Savior, we must increase our faith in Him, make and keep covenants, and have the Holy Ghost with us. We must also act in faith, responding to the spiritual direction we receive.” (Renlund)

The experiences of life are nothing more than rain. Sometimes they fall in torrents on us while others are only experiencing a drizzle. We all know that heavy rain will eventually fall on each person. The fact that there is rain does not mean that God does not exist. It does not mean that we are of no value to him. We may sustain damages due to heavy rain. He can fix anything.

If you have thought that life is unfair because your trials are heavy, consider the fact that it is good that life is not fair. “If life were truly fair, you and I would never be resurrected; you and I would never be able to stand clean before God.” (Renlund) In eternity, this life and it’s experiences are but a blink of the eye. Jesus Christ will repair all that is damaged by this life through the gift of his Atonement. He has promised to personally wipe away all tears. Rev 21:4

Can you suspend disbelief in hope of that reality? Can you wait patiently on God’s timing? Remember the story of Jesus while in the mortal flesh and at some point Lazarus dies. Jesus was called by his dear friends to come quickly saying, “behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.” (John 11:3) Yet, he didn’t come immediately. He waited, much to the surprise of his friends. In fact, by the time he arrived Lazarus was already buried. Did his friends assume he didn’t care? They did question him about timing. “Martha [said] unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” (John 11:21) Jesus did not explain his timing. He affirmed his ability to make all that is dead alive. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26)

When you are confronted with the idea that God does not exist because he is not immediately available, remember that he never moves away from us, we move away from him. Try to postpone a judgement about why his timing seems to delay his coming. He delayed coming to Lazarus and he might delay coming to you. He can bring life to even that which is most certainly dead. Wait and pray for that. This is the meaning of faith.


Renlund, Dale. “That I Might Draw All Men unto Me.” April 2016.

Eyring, Henry. “Where Two or Three Are Gathered.

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