Have you ever felt that God was far away after you just committed a sin? If you have, then welcome to the club. We have all felt a considerable distance from God. We've all prayed prayers wondering if God was indeed listening. Does God really leave us when we commit sin?
A scripture that comes to mind when I think about God's presence leaving is Psalm 22:1: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?" I don't know for sure what David was going through when he wrote these words, but it must have been very bad - so bad that it probably felt that God had left Him.
There are many times in our life that we might be in the same situation David was in. Maybe you didn't even sin. It just felt like God was far away because trials were terribly tough or your calling had a burden that was incredibly difficult to carry. But one thing is for sure, these feelings come not because God has left us. Though it may feel like that at times, our feelings don't dictate God's nearness - His promises do.
And in Deuteronomy 31:6, we are given this wonderful promise: "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
God will NEVER leave nor forsake His people, and He's shown that to be true so many times. When Israel was unfaithful, God pursued them and continued to give them covenant promises to restore even when they had ruined things so many times. We see it in our own life, how Jesus pursued a relationship with us and went a far as the cross so that we could draw near once more to God.
However, there will be times that God will be far away, not because God has forsaken us, but because we have forsaken God. Sin is what draws us away from God's presence. Isaiah 59:2 tells us, "but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear."
But the good news is that even as we draw far away from God, He waits for us to return and even invites us to come back to Him. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 "Come to me all who are burdened and weary..." There is an open invitation to return to God because all this time, He never left you. He's been waiting for you to come back once more to Him.
God will never leave us nor forsake us because He loves us too much. We leave God and His presence because of sin and are cast out by our transgressions. Yet in God's unending grace, He gave us Christ's sacrifice so we would once more be cleansed of unrighteousness so that we can once more come back to our Lord.