“Pastor, I believe in Jesus and I’m trying to serve God. But I don’t always feel close to him. Is there something wrong with me?”
I’ve been asked some version of this question a few different times. Even though the individual is a believer, they wonder if there’s something wrong with them because they don’t always FEEL close to God.
There are certainly times when we feel close to God—like when you’re deep in prayer, or singing a favourite worship song, or when you’ve first committed yourself to Jesus, or when you’re walking through God’s creation, or when you’re having quality time with loved ones, or when you’re volunteering or helping someone in need…
But there are times when you DON’T feel close to God. However, that doesn’t mean he’s not close; and it certainly doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 is a famous part of the Bible: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
When it says to “lean not on your own understanding,” it doesn’t mean we should never use our brains. (Of course, we should!) Instead, it’s referring to the fact that we can’t always trust our own limited point-of-view, and we certainly can’t always trust our feelings to tell the whole picture about what is happening around us.
There are times when I’ve felt so close to God, especially while praying, that I honestly thought that I would physically see Jesus standing right in front of me when I opened my eyes. But there are other times when I’ve felt totally alone.
Feelings can be nice. And there are times when they can be very helpful. But they’re not always a perfect indicator of what’s happening in the bigger picture.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
By Matthew Ruttan
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.