We all slog through days, weeks, and even seasons when God feels distant. Maybe a ‘distant God’ experience is even normal for you. Just this morning, God seemed eerily distant in my daily ‘sit-down’ with Him. It happens to all of us!

Many times, the issue is caused by our perspective. That’s good news, because there are four powerful perspective shifts we can make that can restore the intimacy witih God we crave.

Shift 1: Change Modes

God reveals himself to us through three basic modes. These three modes are how we experience him: his presence, his voice, and his work.

To illustrate how different these are, think of email, texting, and phone calls (which might include Face-timing). All three have their place in our communication with various people. Now: What if you were expecting a friend to call, but she sent an email instead? What if you never checked your email and assumed she hadn’t reached out to you at all? Would that be accurate? Would the fault be hers, or your own?

In the same way, you might be expecting God to speak to you (his voice), when he wants to reveal himself through the wordless assurance of his presence. Or maybe you’re trying to feel his presence, when he wants you to connect with him through his work around you. If God isn’t discernable to you through of the modes (presence, voice, or work), try tuning in to another mode.

If you’d like a deeper exploration of the three modes, check out this blog post, How to experience God in three powerful ways. 

Shift 2: Change Channels

So… God reveals himself through those three basic modes (presence, voice, and touch). Within each mode, he also flows through different channels. This would be like turning on the radio without understanding that you have to tune into specific stations to hear different broadcasts. 

God’s voice

God’s voice flows through five different channels: Verbal (words), visual (pictures), logical (or thought processes), intuitive (things we just ‘know in our knower’), and physical (circumstances, provision, etc). 

If I’m waiting for a train of words to flow through my mind but God is painting a picture in my imagination, I might miss his message. If I’m waiting for a vision (visual), but I get a simple realization (logical, intuitive) I might not discern that the message is from God. 

If you’d like to explore the many specific ways God speaks, check out my blog post, 21 Ways You Are Already Hearing God Speak. 

God’s presence

The presence of God can also be experienced in a variety of ways. These include by faith, spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. 

If you’d like to go deeper into these channels for experiencing God, check out my blog post, Four Ways You Can Experience the Joy of God’s Presence.

God’s work

Obviously, God works in many different ways, and most of God’s work goes completely under our radar. This means he rarely gets credit for what he does. Some examples of God’s work might be giving you peace, providing for your needs, fixing a broken relationship, healing a sickness or injury, delivering you from negative thoughts, or giving you strength to resist temptation. What we need to realize is that God doesn’t just send help. He IS help. The help is him, powerful, present, and kind. 

Shift 3: Asking

We can’t press our way into God’s presence. We can’t make him speak, force him to act, or push his buttons to get the results we want. Yes, Jesus has reconciled us with the Father, but God won’t do what he doesn’t want to do. He’s God, and we’re not. Every action he takes towards us flows from his heart of love towards us through Christ. 

However, God does invite us to interact with him. He wants us to ask for what we need and even what we want. Jesus said, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).

So ask away! Ask him for more. Ask him which mode he’s flowing through. Ask him to help you tune in to the right channel, to welcome him the way he’s moving. 

Shift 4: Waiting

As much as I hate waiting, the longer I walk with Jesus, the more I’m convinced waiting is a vital part of our spiritual growth and intimacy with God. Sometimes, the most spiritual thing we can do is wait on the Lord—even through the silence. Even through what we perceive as distance. 

Because God isn’t distant. He isn’t silent. He hasn’t left us. Sometimes, he’s just waiting to see if we’ll follow. When we’re waiting on God, you see, he’s also waiting on us. 🙂 

If you’d like to go deeper on the concept of waiting, check out my blog post, Why Waiting Is A Crucial Part of Your Faith.

Did this post help you? Which of the four points stuck out to you the most? I’d love to hear your thoughts!