“God, I can’t feel you. Are you there?”
I grew up Christian, going to church and doing the right things. But I didn’t really mature into a personal relationship with God until my college years. The initial few months of discovering God in a new way were amazing! I read the Bible faithfully, I listened to worship music, and I talked about my faith constantly. And then, just a few months later, I didn’t feel Him so closely.
I talked to my pastor about this feeling, wondering what to do when you don’t feel God’s presence. I was worried that I felt this way because God isn’t real. Or maybe God was just another one of my short-lived interests. I wondered if I had what it took to be a Christian. The pastor reassured me that what I was feeling was normal.
“Think about what happens when a couple gets married. The honeymoon is amazing. Building your lives together is new and beautiful. But at some point, that honeymoon period is over,” he explained. “God allows you to go through times like these to build your faith, so that your actions are not just based on your feelings.”
That analogy has stuck with me for many years, especially after I got married. The day where I realized that my husband was not exactly the person I had imagined him to be, but rather was an actual human being with strengths AND faults, was an eye opener for me. I pictured marriage a certain way, but the reality was different. There were, and are, so many blessings in our marriage relationship. But it isn’t perfect. We’ve had to adjust expectations of one another. While we complement each other, we don’t complete each other. Only God can do that.
And unlike an earthly mate, God doesn’t have faults. But I’ve imposed expectations on Him that were not based in truth, and these baseless expectations have let me down. God didn’t promise us smooth sailing, a hefty bank account, fulfillment at our jobs, or easy family relationships. I’ve had to let go of the expectations of Him that weren’t based on His Word, but instead, base my expectations on His promises in the Bible.
So I trusted that God was there, and looked deeper into His Word. I hung out in the Psalms, where I could identify with David’s lamentations and cries for help.
Psalm 42:2,5 “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?..Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
This is a place where my faith grew, where I cried out for God. I put my hope in Him, and praised Him! He did answer me, but in His own timing and in His own way.
Like a marriage, our relationship with Christ can grow through the tough times, if we let it. And Christ is better than even the best spouse in the world could be! He is the most faithful, most understanding, most loving person who you could ever have a relationship with. He is bigger than our feelings and He is worthy of our faith. Even when you can’t feel Him, trust Him that He is there.
Lord, when I don’t feel you, I pray that I would believe by faith that you are there. I pray that you would remind me through Your Word that You are with me! And I pray that my faith in You would grow each day! Thank You for being bigger than my feelings. I love you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.