Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand what it means when God seems far far away.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
When God Seems Far Away
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews Chapter 11, Verse 1
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we explore the values and meaning of that state when God seems far away. At some point in our experience of living we feel that God is far away, and this feeling occurs when we are forced to lean exclusively upon him when locked in a prolonged period of uncertainty, suffering a series of disappointments, overwhelmed by the task in front of us, and bewildered by the lack of understanding, struggling against the difficulties of life. But our faith instructs us that regardless of how we feel emotionally the Father is not very far from us. In fact, the Father is always with us, going through the experience with us and as us, constantly ministering to the needs of our souls as we traverse this life. But how do we arrive at the advanced spiritual attitude where we realize that the Father is always with us? To help us grasp the values of desirable state, we shall resort to a material analogy.
Most are familiar with the game of football and its essential elements: two opposing teams, a field of play, referees, and a pre-determined time period of four quarters, with a short break between the first and second and the third and fourth quarters, and a longer break between the second and third quarters. And of course we must not forget the fans, those avid onlookers who cheer on their teams. Each teams is composed of players who have various functions, including an offensive team and a defensive team.
The object of the offensive teams using various stratagems is to drive their ball towards and over the opposing team’’s goal line. And of course it is the job of the defensive teams to prevent this from happening by frustrating the plans of the offensive team. This contest goes on for some time, the teams going back and forth. Sometimes the offense is able to make progress towards the opponents’’ goal line, and sometimes the defense prevents this from happening. Back and forth they battle until time runs out. The team that has the most points at the end of the time allotted wins the game. Everyone applauds the victorious team while the defeated team moves into the shadows.
Now the game of life is similar to this football game. This life has an opposing team of difficult circumstances and barriers to overcome. The players are to overcome all of the barriers and unfavorable circumstances that life presents. This game also has a time limit. There is a certain amount of time the players of life have to successfully complete the game. At the end of life, some players will be found to have successfully overcome the circumstances and barriers as we measure such things, and others will have come up short.
But in addition to the material aspect of the game of life, there is a spiritual aspect to it as well. And those who win the spiritual game of life will have possessed themselves of those values that allows them "to feast upon uncertainty, to fatten upon disappointment, to enthuse over apparent defeat, to invigorate in the presence of difficulties, to exhibit indomitable courage in the face of immensity, and to exercise unconquerable faith when confronted with the challenge of the inexplicable." As we view these spiritual values, we see that these values are just the opposite of the values that those living the material life have. Those living the material life try their best to avoid uncertainty; they abhor defeat, become discouraged in the face of immensity, and lose faith when confronted with the challenge of the inexplicable. Now we know that the secret to mastering these values is the consciousness of God. But how can we be thus conscious when sometimes he seems so far away?
Let us use an example of vision-perspective. Due to earth’’s curvature, a person standing on a tall building can see much farther than a person on the ground. A person standing on a tall building can see beyond the horizon of a person who is standing on the ground. Even with a powerful telescope, a person on the ground will not be able to see beyond the curve. And sometimes if we are on the tall building looking towards the horizon, if we do not adjust the angle of our vision, as the person gets close and closer, he will soon pass beyond our vision, but in reality he will be closer to us than ever before.
Usually when we think of God being close to us, when we feel that we are in his presence, it is because we are enjoying a respite from life’’s challenges. Everything is going smoothly, and our emotions reinforce the idea that God is near; but when things are not going well in our material lives, then our emotions fail to reinforce that idea, and we feel that God is far away. This error can only be corrected by not trying to feel God’’s presence emotionally, but by exercising our faith. We must cease to view God with the eyes of emotions, tied to the ups and downs of material life. We must cease attempting to view him with the eyes of our senses. We must use the correct telescope and stand at the right height to view God’’s presence. We must use the telescope of faith mounted on the tall building of goodness, which consistently reveals that God is always near, is in fact one with us as we struggle and battle our way through this material life. In the process, we gather those values that allow us to emerge victorious at the end of the game of life.
God is a loving spirit, and we cannot see him with our material eyes. We can only see him with the eye of faith. But that does not mean that he is not there. It means that if we view him with the eye of faith, believing wholeheartedly that he is always near us, then God will never seem far away, no matter the difficulties of life. Even though we must tread a material life of ups and downs, we should always remember that he is always present, and we should learn to recognize his spiritual presence within our souls by recognizing his spiritual manifestations: hope, faith, and trust.
Finally Jesus said that he is the way, the truth, and the life. All who find the Father find Jesus first. We must follow Jesus to gain the spiritual consciousness of the Father’’s presence. By seeking to do the Father’’s will, as Jesus lovingly demonstrated in his life, by loving the Father with all our hearts and loving our neighbors as ourselves, we consciously enter his spiritual presence.
This concludes today's message on understanding what it means when God seems far away. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.