God Seems Distant: Fact or Feeling?

Loneliness…

It’s not something I usually struggle with. I live with my large, loving family. I have friends that I see at school and church. 

Then quarantine happened. I was still with my family, and we had precious moments together. However, when I couldn’t leave my house, I felt secluded and tired. I felt alone in a weird sort of way. Because technically, I was not. I had people around me all day. 

But I lacked all the other relationships in my life. I lacked my church family. I lacked my friends, whether it be at school, in my neighborhood, or somewhere else. 

The biggest problem that came along with this feeling of seclusion is that it started seeping into my relationship with the Lord. I started to feel like, along with everyone else, he was distant. And it was frustrating. Very frustrating. 

This feeling wasn’t new. I often go through seasons where God has felt distant. This, I think, just felt unique because everyone else was distant as well. My friends and my friend Jesus, all far away. 

And I’m not going to say that I’ve gotten over this feeling. I still feel like this very often. Almost daily. 

But I need to remind myself of this: Facts supersede feelings. That basically means facts remain. Facts are truth. Facts are what are real. 

So I know what I’m feeling. I feel that God is distant. I know that when God feels distant to me, I get discouraged and don’t want to spend time in His word because I think I won’t be renewed or refreshed. 

So should I just pout? Just sit and worry? 

No. 

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20b

What do all these verses say? What are the facts? God is near. If I call on Him, if I repent from sin, if I am discouraged, and even just because I am His child, He is near. He is always near. 

So I need to repent of my self-pity and pride, and preach the facts to myself: God is near, even if you can’t feel it. 

Lord, I pray that you would give me faith to trust Your words. You have promised that You would always be near to Your children, to those who believe in You. Help me to focus on the facts, not my feelings. Thank you that You are near when others can’t be.  

God’s Plan: The Coronavirus Pandemic

As I listened to our pastor’s sermon this Sunday, I started to ponder my last post. I didn’t disagree with anything I wrote, but I felt that there were gaps that needed to be filled. I pray that this post will do that. 

God Is Completely Sovereign

Nothing can successfully stop any act or any event or design or purpose that God intends to certainly bring about (- John Piper). 

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17

God is in control of everything that has happened, is happening, and will ever happen on this earth. Nothing catches Him by surprise. Nothing happens without His permission. He has complete authority. He has ultimate power. 

God planned to bring the Coronavirus about. He is in control of every government and economy and nation. He is the King of Kings. He planned the pandemic and all its effects. 

God’s plan is intricate. His knowledge is unlimited. No sparrow falls from the heavens without Him knowing about it (Matthew 10:29). He knows every time a virus infects a new body. Every time someone loses their job. Every time someone loses a loved one. 

God Is Ultimately Good

God is the epiphany of good. He is the most self-sacrificing, self-humbling, loving, and just King there is. Psalm 34:8 says: Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 

Then comes the question: How can God be good when there is so much bad in the world? Why doesn’t God just abolish all the evil? 

The thing is, no human is good. We all have sinful hearts. We have all gone astray like sheep (Isaiah 53:6). If God were to get rid of all the evil in the world, He would have to destroy all of humanity. That includes you and me. 

God already abolished almost all of humanity with the world-wide flood in Noah’s day. He is a just God and cannot stand in the sight of filth and evil. 

The Bible also tells us that God is a merciful God. We see this over and over again in the Bible. He spares humankind by saving Noah and his family. Jonah tells God that he knew He was “a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster” (Jonah 4:2). In Psalms 78 and 106, we see His utter mercy and faithfulness to Israel even in their uttermost rebellion and sin. Lamentations 3:22 says that God’s mercies never end. And at the cross, we see God’s mercy fully displayed (Ephesians 2:4-5). 

How We Should View Trials In Light Of God’s Attributes

What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise? – Laura Story, Blessings

Laura Story states it so beautifully. What if God planned the Coronavirus so that yes, He could judge some, but He could also have mercy on people by drawing them to Him throughout their desperate circumstances? What if He is letting Satan tempt some believers, or He himself is testing their faith so that they will become “steadfast … (and therefore)… perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:3-4)? 

If God is in control of all, and He is good, and we are His children, what is there to fear? 

“…be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” 

Hebrews 13:5b-6

I know who goes before me

I know who stands behind

The God of angel armies

Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever

He is a friend of mine

The God of angel armies

Is always by my side

-Chris Tomlin, God of Angel Armies


What has God been teaching you during the Pandemic? What truths has He brought to your mind lately? Are there any points in my post that you disagree with? If so, comment, and I would love to talk them over with you. 

Blessings, 

Breanne

Mission: Eternity

I sit staring at my laptop. I listen to encouraging music, poke around online, waiting for the idea to hit. Exhausted. Discouraged. Sound familiar?

I re-read a hymn today that I know well but hadn’t thought about in a while. The hymn is called O Church Arise. It’s a modern hymn, by Keith and Kristyn Getty. It’s a call to war. 

To War

A call to war? Aren’t we, as believers, promoters of peace? 

We are. But not when we wage war against the lies that culture tells us. Or the lies Satan tries to feed us. Not when we wage war against temptation and sin. Not when it’s to release prisoners of war from sin and darkness’ chains. 

We are in a battle. It might not seem like it. We get another Messenger text, we watch a show, we talk with friends, make food, take a walk. But Satan is a lion prowling around, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is dangerous. As humans, we are weaklings in comparison to his utter evil and power. 

When The War Becomes Visible

These days, in quarantine, during the pandemic, the war has become overwhelmingly real. God is sovereign and he has allowed this. However, I believe Satan is using this. It’s comparable to when Satan asked permission from God to torment Job in the Old Testament (Job 1:6-12). God let him take all that Job had.

Satan is trying to tempt believers. It’s all lost. You don’t have any friends or family around to support you. You probably won’t get to worship normally in church again. Forget about ever graduating. Or finding a job. He also comes up with quite the opposite: Coronavirus? Why is everyone so worried? Just go watch your new show. Go take a nap. 

The whole world is going crazy. Entire governments and nations are crumbling. It’s simply gone to show how weak we are. People are turned against people, fighting over a piece of fabric, called a mask, or the last packet of toilet paper on the shelves. Friends are in tension because of different ideas on how we should cope with the virus and social distancing. 

Fighting In Light of The Victory

The hymn calls believers to war, but it also reminds them that this war isn’t your ordinary fight. The winning side has already been decided. 

Come, see the cross where love and mercy meet,

As the Son of God is stricken;

Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,

For the Conqueror has risen!

And as the stone is rolled away,

And Christ emerges from the grave,

This vict’ry march continues till the day

Ev’ry eye and heart shall see Him.

So Spirit, come, put strength in ev’ry stride,

Give grace for ev’ry hurdle,

That we may run with faith to win the prize

Of a servant good and faithful.

As saints of old still line the way,

Retelling triumphs of His grace,

We hear their calls and hunger for the day

When, with Christ, we stand in glory.

We will stand in glory. We will tell the stories of the triumphs of His grace. Our state in this war might seem desperate and impossible. The news is horrible, the whole world seems to have despaired, and yet we will stand in glory. 

Let us fight. Let us rise. Let’s remind our brothers and sisters in Christ of the Hope that never fails. Let’s fight against the devil’s lies. Send fellow believers messages reminding them that we aren’t separated. We might be so physically, but not spiritually. The Church of Christ can’t be moved. When a friend tells you they don’t want to get together because they are worried about COVID, respond in grace. The last thing we need is a Church divided against oneself. Let’s pray for those who are suffering. Let’s let people know that we are praying for them. 

Let’s stand together. A couple of months of separation will feel like a couple of seconds when we are together for eternity. 


Listen to O Church Arise here.

Listen to another song which has a similar message, and is just as powerful, called Start Right Here, here.

Musings About Hardship & Hope During the Coronavirus

These last days have been hard. Where I live quarantine is now over, but we can’t go outside without masks, and people are still uneasy. Not everyone wants to get together, and we still aren’t meeting as a church. This summer has been different as well because my brothers are learning a new language so they can enter a high school in the fall. I’ve been spending a lot of my spare time helping them with their homework. 

I want to get together with people, and I thoroughly enjoy it when we can, but I’ve been enclosed into our home with my family for so long that for some reason the times we do get together with people don’t “fix” those weird feelings of seclusion.

I’m tired. I have lost most if not all of my motivation. I was so excited when I first started several projects this summer, but now it takes a lot of emotional and mental power to just keep on working on them. And it’s not that I’m getting little sleep. It’s not that I’m doing a boatload of activities. I’m just mentally worn-out. 

It takes a lot of brain-power to stay hopeful and happy and content when you are stuck with your family and no one else for four months. You have to constantly choose to be patient, choose to smile, choose to keep going. It doesn’t come naturally. When you’ve been doing that non-stop for this long, you collapse. 

Sometimes, I don’t even enjoy the things that normally are life-giving to me, like reading. Naps are quite comforting, but they can also be used as a form of escapism. I don’t want to shy away from my stewardship before God. 

I’m just trying to do the next thing, like my post from last week said, but it’s so difficult. However, I choose. I choose to be thankful for my family and the extra-special time I’ve gotten to spend with them and I choose to be thankful for my puppy who makes me laugh. I choose to be thankful for music that makes me smile and hope. I choose to cling to the promises of God. 

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

    the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

    his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,

    and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,

    and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

they shall run and not be weary;

    they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31