Nov 17 2013
When God Seems Far Away: A Young Wife and Mom Asks an Honest Question


Hi Brant,


I grew up in the church, that's all I have really ever known. When i was 17 i gave my life to the Lord and the next few years were really a blessing, I grew in my relationship with him and started to see him in a way i had never before. Now, I'm 23, a wife and a mom and I love it, but the past three years have been hard on my relationship with God.


I have started to wonder about my faith. It's hard to see the point. I wonder why do I pray? I know that God is going to do what he will and me praying won't change it. People tell me pray to be close to God but i feel like im talking to the wall. I'm in a very empty place in my walk with God.


Sorry to bother you but i just thoght maybe you would have some advice for me. 


Thanks so much!





Great question!


Lindsay, I almost always feel like I'm talking to the wall when I pray. I've gotten used to it. 


I don't prefer it. I wish I felt more. But this used to bother me a LOT when I was your age (In fact, I, too, was about 20 when I started asking people about this feeling that God has left the building.)


The bad news is, I'm still "there". Things haven't changed much, in terms of feelings. And I'm old, compared to you. It's been a long time.


The good news is: God is still there, too. 


I can't look back and say, "Yep, God left me when my feelings left," because of the way my life has unfolded. It's not likeHis blessings stopped. It's not like His protection stopped. It's not like He stopped using me.


So I keep praying, anyway. And, in a few occasions - not lots, but a few - I've seen immediate, hard-to-explain-otherwise answers to prayer. 


God doesn't come and go with our feelings. Truth is, you've gone through HUGE changes in your life, stressful ones, and you're a different person than you were as a teenager. Your focus is different, your daily goals are different, and, being amom, your body chemistry is even different.


Consider this possibility: God gives us certain "spiritual feelings" for a season, like a dad holding up his toddler… and then we learn to walk.


Why pray?  A few reasons:


Jesus prayed. And I'm told to do it. It's obedience. And, like other things I'm told to do, I need a childlike trust that it's best for me to do it.


Second: It changes me. Especially when I'm praying for others, it softens my heart toward them. It brings me in line with God's heart for people. 


Third: It becomes a refuge, a quiet place. You've likely noticed by now that the world makes no sense. It's bluster andnoise and signs and commercials and chatter and headlines and hype. But prayer, especially the kind where we put down the iPhone, gives us a break.


And the best reason: I'm convinced your presupposition that "God is going to do what He will and my prayer won't change it" isn't true.


Lindsay, you've embarked on a relationship, just like with your husband. And you're not relating to Siri. You're relating to a Person. There are examples of people in the Bible openly BARGAINING with God, like Abraham. Or wrestling with Him, like Jacob. 


Jesus tells us we can relate to God like a widow who was seeking justice from a judge. She just kept pestering him, until he gave her what she wanted. If God is a computer, all binary code and inevitability, prayer is way less interesting. 


But He's not.


Jesus tells us to ask the Father for what we need. It matters. And, it makes sense, too: God DOES have a desire for the right things to be done, but He allows us the freedom to do it, or not. Just like with feeding the hungry: He wants them fed, but allows us to play a role in it, and waits for us to at. Prayer may be very similar. Maybe things go wrong, sometimes, because we didn't ask. 


I think prayer is taking action.


I don't have all this figured out, but I'm confident on that last part. If God is our Father, and we are His adopted children, He is waiting to be asked. 


So I ask, feelings or no. Don't wait for the feelings to come back, because you'll miss out. Use prayer as a break from your daily life, and ask God for eyes to see meaning and beauty amidst the routines of motherhood.


And - I keep telling people this - relax. It's not only not about your feelings, or your performance, it's not about you, at all. We're in HIS story, and the weight of the world, and the weight of your "rightness" with God, needn't rest on your already-tired mommy shoulders. 


He's good that way.


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