When God Seems Absent
I had a moment a couple of days ago where I felt the presence of God all around me in a way that is hard to describe in the space that I give myself here.
Also, I made a promise that I would hold on to the specifics of that moment for a while, and just keep them to myself. I need to process it in my own heart before I try to explain it here if that makes sense.
But what I can do is offer up some thoughts on what it feels like to know beyond all doubt (at least for a moment) that God has not abandoned you, and that you are well known and enveloped in divine love.
First of all, I know full well what it feels like when you start to wonder if God is out there at all. I've had my fair share of those times in my life--spiritual dry spells that make you feel as though you'll never taste water again.
I have found that I am in good company, though. Consider these famous people of faith, who experienced the same thing:
Thomas Merton (20th-century Christian mystic): “We too often forget that faith is a matter of questioning and struggle before it becomes one of certitude and peace...."
Pope Francis: “Who among us—everybody, everybody!—who among us has not experienced insecurity, loss, and even doubts on their journey of faith? Everyone! We’ve all experienced this, me too...."
Charles Spurgeon (famous 19th-century preacher): “I must confess here, with sorrow, that I have seasons of despondency and depression of spirit, which I trust none of you are called to suffer, and at such times I have doubted my interest in Christ...."
Mother Teresa: “If there be no God — there can be no soul — if there is no Soul then Jesus — You also are not true.”
I could go on, there's a long list of these kinds of things that include people like St. Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Billy Graham, and many more.
So, if you are feeling like God hasn't been around in your life lately, or that you might have signed up for something that isn't "all that," don't despair. What each of these people did is what I strive to do.
When they felt like all was lost when it came to their faith in God, they kept going. They pushed through. They did the next right thing, and then the next.
Some of them even admitted that they "faked it" until they could get to a point where it made sense again. In other words, they prayed, read, meditated, worshipped even when they weren't feeling it. And they kept at it until they did.
I found this amazing little quote by Bob Goff the other day, and I had to share it along with this devotion:
God hasn't brought you this far only to forget your name. Jesus said we won't add anything to our lives by worrying; we'll just miss seeing him at work.
That's some beautifully, simplistic wisdom there, my friends. You are not forgotten by God.
It could be that your mind and heart are so cluttered with worry, gripped by fear, and racing a hundred miles an hour with anxieties and dread. It could be that your ears are full of voices telling you all kinds of vile things about yourself, and the world.
It could be that you stopped experiencing God's presence because your view of life, the universe, and everything became narrowly focused on the six inches in front of your face.
Look up. Stop listening to the noise. Be still and let your heart slow down, your brain stop spinning. Breathe. Listen to the sounds of the world around you. Get outside if you have to. You can do this by the side of a river, or on a bench next to a crowded street.
You can even do it right now as you are reading this.
God hasn't forgotten your name. You are not alone. May you know this in your heart of hearts and may it bring you peace. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.