rebelling against low expectations

Seek More Earnestly: When God Seems Distant


One night I dreamed a dream.

As I was walking along the beach with my Lord,

Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.

For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,

One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,

I looked back at the footprints in the sand.

I noticed that many times along the path of my life,

Especially at the very lowest and saddest times,

There was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.

“Lord, You said once I decided to follow You,

You’d walk with me all the way.

But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,

There was only one set of footprints.

I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you

Never ever during your trials and testings.

When you saw only one set of footprints,

It was then that I carried you.”

(Mary Stevenson, 1964)

Never Alone

When you have no water for over a week, bees in your storage rooms, and ants surrounding your house, it can feel like God isn’t there. When you have a family of hyrax partying in your attic, electricity only in your outlets, rounds of sickness, and short tempers with your siblings, it really feels like God isn’t close.

Trials are hard.

I know. These past weeks have been a struggle for our family. It’s been one thing after another, and when you live in Africa, things never get fixed quickly. I could say I’m used to it, but I’m really not. When your life is constantly in a state of not knowing what will happen next, it can sure feel like you’re on your own.

But I’ve learned that you’re never truly on your own. Like the words in the poem above, it may look like you’re on your own.

But you’re not.

Even when it looks like God isn’t there, that you’re suffering alone, you’re not. He’s with you and He’s carrying you. He’s what sustains you through the trials of life. He’s what keeps you from breaking.

Through these recent struggles, I’ve learned to pray even more. I’ve learned that keeping God close is a matter of keeping close to Him. James 4:8 states, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

If we want God to be near to us, we have to come near Him. We have to base our lives around Him and live for Him alone. Because it’s when we stay close to Him that He stays close to us.

Living Close to God

Staying close to God requires effort on your part. Just saying that you’re close to your Lord doesn’t necessarily mean that you are close to Him. You have to live it out.

There are several ways you can do this.

· Read your Bible.

By reading God’s Word, you can better understand Him and the world He created. His Word is divinely inspired and through it we can better understand His ways. 1 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

· Meditate on His Word.

At our church, we have several moments of meditation on Scripture, and it helps to get our minds in focus and to look only to our Lord. Joshua 1:8 has some strong words to say about meditating on God’s word, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

· Pray without ceasing.

We are told throughout the New Testament that we have only to ask, and we will be given that which we seek. Mark 11: 24 says, “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

However, later in James, we are issued a warning about asking for the wrong things. James says in verse four of chapter four, “You ask and you do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” It’s important to pray according to God’s Word and will, rather than our own.

· Memorize Scripture.

Throughout the Bible we are told to hide God’s Word in our heart. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” God is very clear as to what we are to do with His Words, as shown in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, “And these words I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

In other words, everything we teach, speak, do, and even decorate with should be about God’s Words. What better way to draw nearer to Him than to immerse yourself in His Scriptures?

· Give thanks.

By giving thanks to God in all circumstances, we are able to thank Him even when things go wrong and when life doesn’t happen as we think it should. The most often heard verse about giving thanks is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

He Daily Bears Us Up

So, friend, if you feel like God is far away, like He’s not there with you through the trials, maybe it’s because you are far away from Him. When you draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to you, and you will enjoy holy communion with Him.

He always walks beside us unless He’s carrying us through our suffering. He has promised and He always carries through with His promises.

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.” – Psalm 68:19

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About the author

Dee Robertson

Dee Robertson is a God-loving 18 year-old whose passion is to work with an unreached people group as a midwife. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya as an MK and absolutely loves it there! Reading, writing, photography, and playing with her dog are some of the things she does in her spare time. You can find her (and some awesome pictures!) on her blog at


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  • “When you saw only one set of footprints,
    It was then that I carried you.”
    Thank you for the reminder!

  • Great article, so true. That is such a good reminder to us when God feels distant or when we feel like we have messed it all up. Thanks for sharing!

  • I love that poem. It was such a great reminder! Thank you for delivering this powerful message. I really needed it!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →