It is normal in this trouble-filled world to sometimes feel that God is not there, that God is asleep, or that God is distant. What do you do in these situations?

First of all, you are not alone. One of the best things you can do is to share with other people. Ask, “Do you ever have these questions? Have you ever felt like this?” The truth is, we have all felt like this because the world is filled with trouble. In Scripture, God says that in the midst of trials, when you need wisdom and are trying to figure out what to do and how you feel, you should talk to Him. You can start by saying, “I feel like you’re far from me.” This should give you great confidence and a sense of peace: God does not ever begrudge you, but He gives to all men willingly.

Feelings are real, but they are not reliable. You should not suppress them, but talk about them. Go back to Scripture and look at what is true. God reveals Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Basically, He means, “I’m a God with a resume.” There were times when Abraham didn’t feel like God was close. There were times Isaac didn’t feel like he could trust God. There were times when Jacob ordered his life in such a way that it brought real trouble, and he felt like God wasn’t near.

You might feel like God is not near because your life is a mess. There might be things that are driving you away from Him. Sin is either going to keep you from God’s Word, or God’s Word as you abide with it is going to keep you from sin.

A second thing to do if you don’t feel close to God is to make sure there aren’t things that are separating you from Him, including your choices. You want to move toward Him, so confess and ask Him to forgive you.

Another reason people sometimes feel like God is distant is because the world’s not working out the way they want it to. They wonder, “God, how could this be my story? How could this be my lot in life, this disease, this disfigurement, this disaster?” Jesus told us not to be surprised by things not working out the way we want them to because we live in a world that’s riddled with sin. This is a broken world, but Jesus loves you and wants to give you hope in it. He wants you to understand he’s going to give you strength to endure it, and not to lose heart.

It’s okay to tell God, “God, this isn’t the life I dreamed of.” But don’t ever forget that He is the God you dream of. The afflictions you’re in now may be heavy, but God is there and He loves you. Through His people, His Word, and His Spirit, He will give you the strength to endure what you’re in the middle of. This is a world racked by trouble, but take heart, for He has overcome the world!