Mountains with blue skies and high clouds

@JeanneTakenaka

I imagine many of us have faced times when God feels distant. As Hubs and I walked infertility’s  path, many days passed when I felt far from God. I couldn’t understand why He gave other people children, but not my husband and me.

In not understanding God’s intentions, I distanced myself from Him. It hurt too much to continue placing hope in a God who withheld a desire I believed He’d placed in my heart. I still had my quiet times, but that time was spent in rote activity rather than heart-renewal.

A dead tree standing on a hillside...a visual for how we sometimes feel when we are disappointed in God's ways, when God feels distant

As I read Psalm 147 recently, verses 2-3 stood out to me. I’d also been reading Jeremiah and Ezekiel, prophets who spoke God’s messages to the people of Israel before and during their captivity.

Meme with the words: "The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." ~Psalm 147:2-3 on a backdrop of a wooden wall

He gathers those who went into captivity, those exiled from the Promised Land. The land He gave to their forefathers. 

The people’s choices of idols over God forced a ripping divide in their relationship with Him. Their hearts grew cold to the point where they didn’t care anymore. They craved comfort over holiness. The world’s ways over God’s ways. Even when He warned them of what was coming if they continued on this path.

A dead tree lying on the ground...a visual for how, when God feels distant, we can feel a little bit dead inside

Nebuchadnezzar drove the people of Jerusalem into captivity for seventy years.

But we know all this.

What leaves me in awe is that God wanted them back. He promised He would build up Jerusalem. He would gather Israel’s exiles. 

His people

Even after their betrayal, God desired relationship with them. Not only would He gather them back, He promised to:  

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

A fawn standing on brown grass

What God Knows

God knew the breaking His people endured, the wounds inflicted upon their hearts, bodies, and minds. 

And He said He would heal them. 

Today, our relationship with God is different. The cross is our covering, our open door into our Father’s throne room. 

God is more accessible today than He was to the people of the Old Testament. Still, we’re prone to wander, to walk away from our Father. 

Even after we come into relationship with Him, we’re easily distracted.

A river running between rocky shorelines...a visual for how we can become busy and distance ourselves when God feels distant

Busy schedules, screens, real-life heartbreak as we watch loved ones struggle and suffer and die. 

Friction between parents and children. 

Distance between friends. 

Illness. 

These aren’t modern-day signs of exile. But, real life has a way of distancing us from our Father. Daily stress dizzies us, and our hearts grow cold. God feels distant.

Disappointed: How to Respond When God Feels Distant—Real life has a way of distancing us from our Father. Daily stress dizzies us, and our hearts grow cold. God feels distant. #tellhisstory #disappointment Click To Tweet

Sometimes we’re angered by what He allows into our lives. Other times, we’re confused and hurt by what doesn’t happen, by our loved ones’ suffering. 

A meme with the words, "We sometimes place ourselves in exile, far from the intimacy we were designed to share with God." on a photo of a woman walking on a forested path

We sometimes place ourselves in exile, far from the intimacy we were designed to share with God.

Disappointed: How to Respond When God Feels Distant—We sometimes place ourselves in exile, far from the intimacy we were designed to share with God #tellhisstory #disappointment Click To Tweet

It feels easier, for a time. Less painful. 

That distance satisfies our desire to get back at God. 

For a time.

But our Father . . . 

Even when we give up on Him, God never gives up on us. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. 

He’s there, waiting to gather us back into the folds of His love. God is ready to heal broken hearts and bind up wounds—physical, spiritual, emotional, mental. 

He’s the only One capable of working such miracles. 

We will face times when we don’t understand God’s ways. When God feels distant, we often separate from Him to try and protect ourselves. 

We’re poor guardians of our hearts and lives. 

A cabin on a hillside with snow and fog surrounding it...symbolic of how we sometimes exile ourselves from God and find ourselves alone

How to Respond When God Feels Distant

As Hubs and I tried to understand why God chose to not give us children, the Spirit’s conviction that I’d made motherhood an idol stung deeply. 

Rekindling intimacy with God required me to release that craving for motherhood and seek Him first. No matter what He gave—or didn’t give—me.

As I let go of my dream, God brought healing by speaking the truth of His love over my heart. He helped me see the lies I’d clung to. As I released the lies, His truth brushed peace over my heart.

God eventually gifted us with two boys. It wasn’t until I came to the place of desiring Him more than motherhood that He could heal my heart, bind up the wounds the lies left, and show me His truth.

If—when—God feels distant—we must remember our Father is faithful. 

He loves us. 

He’s waiting for us when we reach the end of ourselves. 

Two trees that create an arch and frame a mountain and blue skies backdrop.

He doesn’t want to loom over us with judgment, but with love. When we come before Him in humility, He will heal our broken hearts in ways we can’t imagine. He binds up those wounds and speaks truth over the lies we clung to. 

He draws us into deeper intimacy, so we’re no longer exiles. 

We are beloved.

What about you? What helps you come to terms with disappointments when God feels distant? How does God draw you near to Himself?

This week, I’m linking up with Grace and TruthAnita Ojeda, #Instaencouragements, and sometimes Let’s Have Coffee. Come join and read more encouraging posts!

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