How to Cope When God Seems Absent
- Friday, September 07, 2001
Here are some ways you can cope when it seems as if God isn't there:
- Realize that sometimes God deliberately chooses to stop communicating with people for a season, to accomplish certain purposes in their lives. Know that there's a reason why God isn't responding to you right now, but don't assume that He's punishing you. There are many positive reasons why God chooses to be silent for a time.
- Remember the joy of sensing God's presence with you in the past, through answered prayers, encounters with His Holy Spirit, and more. Thank God for His work in your life and continue praying regularly, even if you don't sense answers right away.
- Study your motives for communicating with God, what you expect from Him, and why. Ponder your relationship with God and think about ways you can focus more on who He is rather than just on what you would like from Him.
- Read Scripture passages that describe various aspects of God's character - such as His love, or His wisdom - and assure yourself that God will always interact with you in ways that reflect that perfect character.
- Be diligent about seeking God. Don't give up asking Him to respond to you, and know that He eventually will do so. If you have grown complacent in your relationship with God, let this experience ignite a new passion in you to pursue Him more.
- Don't try to force God to respond to you. Instead, accept that you can't manipulate Him, and that He doesn't owe you anything. Embrace the deep, unconditional love that He freely gives, and ask Him to forgive you for trying to rely on your own power rather than His in any situation. Give God control of all aspects of your life and embrace the grace He offers you.
- Allow yourself to feel the pain the void has created, because by experiencing it, you can be transformed.
- Focus on others as much as you can - praying for them and serving them. This will help you not to dwell too much on your own pain. And God might choose to meet you in the midst your service.
- Ask God to heal every part of you - even parts that you don't know need to be healed, or don't want to submit to Him.
- As you wait for God to speak to you again, rearrange your priorities according to how you can best seek God. Be patient, and in time, you'll encounter Him again.
Adapted from Seeking God's Hidden Face: When God Seems Absent, copyright 2001 by Cecil Murphey. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., www.ivpress.com, 1-800-843-4587.
Cecil Murphey has authored or co-authored 66 books. He has taught writing at colleges and at writers' conferences around the world.
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