It’s Easter week and you know that you’re “supposed” to be rejoicing over Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His miraculous resurrection.
You’re “supposed” to feel all the emotions of Easter such as joy, peace, and happiness.
But, if you were to be really honest, this Easter it feels like something is missing.
You feel far from God, and Easter feels more like a ritual than a reason to celebrate.
You’re not sure how to make sense of what you’re feeling. You do believe in Jesus and know that you’re saved only by His sacrifice (which we celebrate at Easter), but it’s like there’s a barrier between what you believe and how you feel.
And honestly, it’s quite an uncomfortable place to be in.
So you shrug it off. You put on your best Easter attire and a plastic smile as you go through the motions of the week’s Easter activities.
But each time you say “He is Risen!” to fellow churchgoers, your spirit winces a little as you aren’t sure if what you’re really saying is what your heart believes in that moment.
You may even begin to feel a tinge of doubt about the validity of your faith or your salvation. “After all, isn’t my faith in Christ all about how close I feel or don’t feel to God?” you may wonder.
And so, the glorious joy of Easter (that everyone around you seems to have) becomes more of a reminder of what you are really lacking this year.
Instead, this year, Easter seems to simply remind you of this scary truth: You feel far from God and you have no idea what to do about it.
Facing the Truth about Your Current Feelings
Make no mistake, feeling far from God is not a pleasant place to be, especially if you’ve been close to God before and known the glory of His wonderful presence.
In fact, it’s downright excruciating. It’s almost as if your spiritual nourishment is akin to someone who is used to eating the richest, most delectable gourmet meals, but is now forced to survive on meager portions of beans and rice.
You’ve tasted the “good”—the incredible mountaintop highs—in following Christ, and now you can’t understand why those feelings are gone.
And then there’s the sheer isolation of these type of emotions. This isn’t what “good Christians” talk about, right? We’re not “supposed” to have moments where God feels distant, are we?
Isn’t Christianity really about moving from one mountaintop experience to another? If we don’t feel close to God, doesn’t that mean that He’s somewhere far off?
Many Christians who feel this way! And honestly, we have had moments where we’ve felt far from God and not known how to handle it.
But if you get nothing else out of this post, please understand this truth: The solidity of our faith has nothing to do with our emotions. No, the Christian faith has nothing to do with moving from mountaintop-to-mountaintop of increasing emotion.
While we can grow deeper with Christ the longer we know Him, we can’t let our ever-fluctuating feelings dictate the validity of our relationship with God.
In fact, if we let our emotions determine the truth of what we believe, then we might as well sit around and only believe in those things that make us feel good (at least for that moment).
The truth? Our emotions are a natural reaction to our circumstances and we can’t place our entire belief system on what we may or may not feel.
Using Emotion as a Way to Draw Close to God
Emotions don’t need to be the basis of our Christian faith.
However, emotions can be an incredibly powerful barometer for allowing us to assess those areas of our life where we may need some additional growth or healing, especially regarding spiritual matters.
This Easter, what if we boldly acknowledged our feelings before God—even the aching questions and the deep hurts—and asked Him to help us understand what we were feeling?
What if we were truly honest with Him this Easter about our lack of emotional zeal and instead said, “God, help me to celebrate Easter with joy, not because of my earthly emotions but because of my faith-based, confident trust in the truth of who You are”?
After all, God created every part of us, including our emotions. As a good God who uses everything for His purposes, don’t you think He can use our most troubling questions and deepest pain to bring testimonies of great glory and power (that goes beyond our in-the-moment feelings)?
5 Steps to Take When You Feel Far From God at Easter
Instead of allowing emotion to dictate our joy level this Easter, let’s view our emotions as opportunities for deeper avenues of growth with a God who loves us at all times and through all experiences.
How does this happen? I believe it starts with five critical steps.
1. Authentically share with God all that you’re feeling, including your doubts and fears.
He tells us to give Him our cares and to trust Him with every part of our lives (1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 11:28-30).
Pray aloud or write down in a journal everything that you’re feeling. Do whatever it takes to confess all the emotions to Him so that He can help you through them.
There’s no need to be formal or fancy when talking to God. Just be real.
Consider this: How can we follow God if we can’t be honest with Him about our biggest concerns and questions? I’m convinced that not only is He is big enough to handle our questions, but He uses our questions to deepen our relationship with Him through the situation.
2. Believe the truth that He is not far off, regardless of what your emotions tell you.
Sometimes life is incredibly hard and there seems little relief from the pain. It is tough, to say the least!
But during these times, we must not let our emotions take over and nullify the everlasting truths of God, such as:
- God is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those with crushed spirits (Psalm 34:18).
- He keeps us in perfect peace when we keep our eyes on Him and not on our circumstances (Isaiah 26:3).
- He will not reject a broken and repentant heart (Psalm 52:17).
- He restores the crushed spirit of the humble and revives the courage of those with repentant hearts (Isaiah 57:15)
- The Lord is close to all who call on him in truth (Psalm 145:18-19).
- He will never leave us or give up on us (Hebrew 13:5).
Write down evidence of His presence in your life, and listen as He guides you to a better understanding of the emotions that you’re feeling.
3. Ask Him to reveal anything in your life, including sinful habits, thoughts, or patterns, that may be separating you from Him.
Spend extra time reading the Bible and allowing the purity of Scripture to bathe your heart with what He calls “pure and righteous.”
Ask Him to show you areas where you need His help to live differently so that nothing can hinder your connection with God. Listen for his conviction and not the condemnation.
If He reveals things to you that need to change, be quick to repent and to change patterns in your life so that you can find healing and restoration.
4. Ask a trusted Christian friend or two to pray for you through this time.
You are not alone in this! Most of us go through these periods where our emotions feel in conflict with our faith.
Share your heart with a friend who can lead you to godly truth and who will commit to pray for you through this.
5. Keep seeking, keep believing, and watch His promises still come true (despite your waxing and waning emotions).
Be still and let Him do the work to heal and bring answers. Continue to believe in His trustworthy, never-failing promises.
We all will go through times in life where our emotions will betray us. We may not “feel” close to God but He is still there! Thank goodness that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)!
Pray that this Easter you will be able to celebrate the joy of the resurrection, even if life is difficult or your emotions are making you feel far from God.
Trust, stand, and believe in His truths this Easter. He is risen, He is powerful, and He is still in control of all things! Hallelujah that our Easter faith is not based on emotion but on the living, powerful truths of Christ!