This week the blog is sponsored by Baker Books and is adapted from Jamie Rasmussen’s new book When God Feels Far Away: Eight Ways to Navigate Divine Distance.
If you’re anything like me and consider yourself a Christian, you and I would probably agree on a few ‘essentials.’. Things like believing God is real, that He is good, and that His grace is revealed to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We would also agree that because of what Jesus did on the cross, and our faith in His completed work, we can enjoy an ongoing relationship with God, and He is always with us.
The problem is, it doesn’t always feel like it.
In fact, if I can be completely honest and vulnerable, there are times when it not only feels like God is not with me, it feels like He’s far away. Like “Elvis has left the building” far away. And after 40 years of being part of this Christ-following tribe and 35 years as a pastor, I know I’m not alone. I’ve never bothered to count, but if I had, I would have lost count of the number of people who I’ve heard cry out in some form, “Where is God in all this chaos?”
When life unravels, even for (or maybe especially for) the faithful, circumstances suddenly feel like a shaky Jenga tower ready to collapse on top of you if one condition is too carelessly shifted. You can know in your mind that God is with you, but when your experience doesn’t match your theology, you find yourself in the middle of a crisis of faith (I think the technical term is “a dumpster fire of life.”) So, what do you do when you don’t know what to do?
As a veteran of difficult seasons of divine distance, I’ve walked these seemingly lonely paths and guided many others through their own. I’m familiar with the too-common practice among Christians to “buckle up and double down” on our spiritual disciplines, expecting God to be drawn magnet-like to our good behavior (only to be exponentially more disappointed when it doesn’t work as intended).
There is a better way.
Using the historic narrative of Esther and the Jewish people in the time of their exile, this book illustrates how eight biblically grounded actions, expressed through a relational filter, can yield fruitful results that bring hope, encouragement, comfort, and even direction. When God Feels Far Away isn’t a self-help book. It is a guide that will help recalibrate your mind and perspective to be both practical and biblical, empowering you and I to see and experience the nearness of God in our circumstances even when He feels far away.