What do you do when God feels so far away? When there seems to be no feeling at all, no Voice, no overwhelming peace? Just the absence of anything deeper?
That isn’t how I wanted to start this post. I wanted it to sound beautiful, inspiring, but though it’s laced with desperation, it’s imperatively honest. Because for this past week, and maybe even for this past month, I’ve been there.
It took me a while to come to that conclusion – to be truthful with myself – to let myself admit that I haven’t been feeling my faith recently.
At first thought, I was horrified that it would even cross my mind that perhaps God wasn’t speaking to me as I clearly remember Him doing. It terrified me that maybe…I’ve been relying on myself so much, that life’s been so good, so easy lately, that I’ve forgotten my need to rely upon Him.
For a while I thought I was fine.
But I began to think differently, and until this weekend, I didn’t even realize it.
For a little while, God had been reduced to being a religion in my mind, a concept, a transcendent Being, far, far away from where I am.
Life became passionless…Bible reading became tedious…faith became flat.
But it doesn’t have to be this way, I realized. Faith is much more than a feeling, yes, but it shouldn’t be devoid of joy, either.
I took my journal, favorite pen, and Bible out, and I prayed. And it refreshed my soul.
It’s been a while since I really, truly talked with You.
To be honest, Lord, and You know my heart – I haven’t felt You, lately.
Not in a big way. Or even in an emotionally gratifying way.
I think things shifted when I started thinking of You as being far away from me, looking far down on me, silent, watching, but never intervening.
I suppose I equated You with a deceased relative in that sense, which is ridiculous, because You are GOD.
But the mind does crazy things sometimes.
I forgot that You are with me, right here, right now, in this moment.
I forgot that I am in Your presence, and in Your presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).
I lost that joy.
I traded Your joy for doubts, for philosophical theories, for concepts and ideas about You – instead of embracing Your unchanging, immovable truths, those truths I’d supposedly built my life on.
I forgot that the hands that cradled my heart, those very same ones that hung the stars in the sky, and bled for me.
I forgot that I wasn’t good enough on my own.
I forgot that…I needed You.
Not just when I’m weak, but when I think I’m strong, I still need You. And I want You.
Lord, You do not change, but I do. I get tossed sometimes, led astray from the Truth that You put in front of me.
But thank You for who You are.
Because You are God…and I am not.
You are unchanging…and I am not.
You are good…when I am not.
You still love…when I do not.
“I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
These verses hit me so hard. When I read them, I had to stop, and read them again, and again, and realize, “Wow, God is speaking to me RIGHT NOW. Right as I need it.”
At times, I forget that my doubt does not define God’s Truth.
My emotions do not define His character.
My philosophies do not define His nature.
My forgetfulness does not define His hope.
Slowly, slowly, I am regaining the essence of what it is to truly see. See through the lens of Truth – see God for who He is, not who I want Him to be – see myself how He sees me, not how I think I should be seen – see what life is, full of passion and joy and goodness and full of God Himself.
No longer do I want to see truth through the eyes of the world, but instead see everything else through the eyes of Truth. Through God’s eyes, not mine. In the light of His Word.
I can’t say I’m fixed, that I’ve got it all figured out. I don’t think I ever will, frankly. But each day is new, one to learn, to grow, to taste God in a new way.
Even though this life is messy – even though you and I are messy – it’s a beautiful journey. One we best not take for granted.
Because even when we cannot feel God, He is there. In every moment, with every breath we take, we can call upon Him. And He is there.