If you've been following Jesus for quite a while now, you must have sensed at some point that God was far away from you. It doesn't matter how "Christian" you are, you must have felt like God has left you.
But how does that add up with God's promise to neither leave nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6)? God is a promise-keeping God who stands by 100 percent of the things He says.
But if God never leaves nor forsakes us, why do we feel that sometimes we are far away from God?
We've all heard the story of the Prodigal Son — the story of a son who asked for his inheritance from his father before leaving. After successfully convincing his father to give him half his wealth, Luke 15:13 says, "Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living."
Were are often like the prodigal son who lived recklessly after leaving his father's estate and protection. The reason why we feel God is far away is not because God has left us, but because we leave God's presence. This is exactly what happens when we sin — we abandon God for sin and leave His presence.
Isaiah 59:2 says, "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."
When we choose sin over God, we forsake Jesus for another functional saviour.
So where is God when we leave Him? Luke 15:20 continues the story of the prodigal son: "And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him."
When we turn away from God, He never turns away from us. Even when we have given up on Him, He never gives up on us.
God will never and can never abandon us. But in His love for us and in His fairness He gives us the choice to either follow Him or follow other gods. But even in our unfaithfulness, He remains faithful. Even when we turn against Him, He waits patiently for us to return to Him and to remain in Him forever.
Jesus said in John 15:4, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me."
Jesus invites us to approach Him and, more importantly, remain in Him. Let us not abandon Him again because He has never abandoned us.