When God Seems Distant: The 4 Ways to Reconnect

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What do you do when God seems distant? How can you feel his presence again?

When you experience difficult circumstances, you may feel that God has abandoned or forgotten you in some way. Bringing him pleasure will likely be the last thing on your mind. However, it’s vital to continue your worship in the hard moments when God seems distant—because this is when God is testing your character most.

Read more to learn four things you can do when God seems distant.

What to Do When God Seems Distant

Worship becomes easier in confusing or frightening times if you can find ways to stay connected to God, even if his presence isn’t evident to you. There are four ways to remind yourself of God’s presence and his goodness.  

1) When God seems distant, express your feelings. Don’t be afraid to tell God exactly how you feel about the test he’s given you—all negativity and anger included. Rather than seeing this as an insult, God will see this as an affirmation of your faith, in three ways:

  • Addressing God proves that you believe in him.
  • Speaking to God affirms that you believe he’ll listen to what you have to say. 
  • Being honest with God demonstrates that you have faith that he’ll let you say what you want and love you no matter what. 

2) When God seems distant, remember that he is unchanging. Continually remind yourself of truths about God—he’s good, he loves you, and he knows what’s best for you. Recall that God wants you to pass your tests and won’t give you a challenge he doesn’t think you can overcome. He gave you this particular test because he knows you’ll succeed. 

3) When God seems distant, have faith in his promises. God promises that he’ll never leave you—no matter how you feel, the reality is that God isn’t breaking his promise to you. Holding on to your knowledge and faith in this promise is a profound act of worship. 

4) When God seems distant, reflect on his sacrifices for you. No matter what grueling tests God puts in your way, he deserves your praise and gratitude because of the sacrifices he’s had to make for you. He had to let his only son die so that humans like you would be saved.

When God Seems Distant: The 4 Ways to Reconnect

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  • The meaning of life from a Christian perspective
  • The five purposes that you were created by God to fulfill
  • How to find the unique service you were made for

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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