Have you ever gone through a season where you couldn’t feel God? I had such an experience in August of 2012 and it really rocked my world.
I wondered if God was mad at me. I wondered if He had left me. I’m ashamed to say I sometimes even questioned His existence. I had been so used to feeling His presence. It was a sweet, peaceful presence that would fill the room and instantly give me chills. It was a cool current of air that would gently waft through the room and I just knew He was there. But I didn’t know what to do when that ability to “feel” God’s presence was gone. What happened?
As a woman, I am wired to be an emotional creature. I tend to look at life and process everything through my emotions and senses. This can be a good thing and is seen in the sensitivity of a woman and the tenderness she possesses. But it can also be a stumbling block if not kept in check. Our emotions and thoughts can start to run wild and leave a path of destruction in their wake.
Now the background of this situation is that God had been really helping me grow in a number of areas in my life. Most of them were related to how I thought or felt. Unfortunately that “growth” came through trials, but I was keeping a positive perspective. I often referred to James 1:2-3 (NLT) which says,
“Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles (trials) come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”
And so I was growing, with lots of “growing pains”, but still. Through it all, I just wanted to go to another level. I was praying for a deeper relationship with God and to know Him in a better way. I was pressing forward and then…BAM! I smashed into a brick wall. I was dazed, confused, and a little disoriented. All of sudden God was nowhere to be found! And I knew that to be a “fact” because I couldn’t “feel” Him. Where did He go? Why did He leave? Did I do something wrong? Was I not passing the test?
So I began to question Him in prayer. I began to search my heart for any sin. I pleaded for direction, but there was nothing but silence. My emotions ran wild from frustration to self-deprecation and beyond. I would bawl my eyes out in prayer so confused. I was in a spiritual state of panic. What was going on?
I remember one day in particular. I was praying and so frustrated. I determined that I just needed to go to the cross and unload all my cares. It was like I opened a floodgate and it all came gushing out. I had done this so many times before. But this time, after I was done “unloading”, I did something different. I stopped. I stopped talking, thinking, trying to figure things out, panicking, etc. I stopped and listened. I waited. I “felt” nothing. There was no “cool current of air”. There was no booming voice or bright lights or angelic choir singing. None of my “senses” were engaged at all. Instead, there was something inside of me. Something I had to be still and quiet to notice. Something deep. A still, small voice speaking from my heart, “I have never left you! I have been right here this whole time!”
I am reminded of Elijah hiding in a cave. He was discouraged because of his situation. He was waiting to meet with God.
1Kings 19:11-12 says, “And he (God) said (to Elijah), Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”
I had been looking for Him in the “wind, earthquake, and fire”, things that engaged my feelings, senses, and emotions, but He wasn’t there. And now I found Him here in this still small voice. I felt relief flood over me! God was with me! But what was this whole situation about? Why the silence? I had so many questions.
God began to show me that I based my relationship with Him on my feelings, senses, and emotions . Because of this my faith was shaky. I didn’t have something solid for my relationship with Him to be founded upon because my feelings, senses, and emotions are constantly changing. They’re dependent on my situation, my environment, my mood. Going about my relationship with Him this way meant that I was “building my house upon the sand”. And when the winds of life blew in, I was being shaken.
So what needed to be my solid foundation? His Word coupled with authentic faith. What is authentic faith? We’ll dive into that in a later post.
Have a blessed day!