We too easily doubt God's presence and nearness. When feelings and experiences fade, what are we left with? Do we still believe God is closer than ever or do we doubt He cares for us? So many times we seek out spiritual encounters, but when those disappear we question if God is still with us. He's asking us to go deeper. More than emotions or spiritual highs. God is leading us to maturity and intimacy over a surface level relationship based on experience.
He may feel far off, but He is always close to us.
This song has been constantly on my mind recently. Here is one verse that's stuck with me.
"Even when I don't see it, You're working
Even when I can't feel it, You're working
You never stop, You never stop working
You never stop, You never stop working"
Do we really believe this? In my life I've been in seasons that are very evident of God working, but then I enter into a harder season and I suddenly believe He left me. I ask Him questions like, "Where are you God? Why can't I hear you speaking to me? What are you doing in my life . . . are you even there?" Since I grew up in the church, I'm used to having spiritual experiences. I grew up going to church camps, worshipping in church, being prayed over, and seeing God move in radical ways. But eventually it isn't only experiences. Some points of my life I am just working and not seeing God move in incredible ways. It feels as if He has stopped doing anything and just left me behind. Yet, in these moments I'm learning that He is still doing the miraculous . . . it might just look a lot different than what I'm used to.
In our relationship with God we have to realize that we can't base it off of feelings. We can't only follow God when He feels near, but also in those times He feels far off. We must recognize that He is constant, but our emotions are like the waves of the ocean . . . always changing and never the same. Even if it doesn't feel like He is there, He is closer than ever. God's presence isn't based on circumstances, our feelings, or even what we do. No matter how we feel, He is right by our side delighting over us as His children. He is still moving and shaping us into His sons and daughters.
God still chooses us even if we don't choose Him.
This is the beauty of God's character. Have you ever noticed the sunset and sunrise? What about the laughs you share with your close friends? Did you ever stop to think that was God's way of pursuing you? He is a God of pursuit. In the Old Testament, no matter how many times the Israelites turned their backs on Him with idol worship, sexual immorality, and breaking covenant He still chased after them. God chose to dwell with them over and over because of His immovable character. His character is love. He will choose love no matter how we act or whether we recognize His presence or not.
Even if we go throughout our day distracted, worshipping other idols, or choosing other things above Him God still pursues us. He still paints beautiful things in the sky for us to see. God still sends us laughter and good conversations. He will still provide last minute for us. It's all because He is good. He can't deny His character of love, pursuit, and relationship. We have to choose to recognize where He is moving even if it's in the simplest of things. When it feels like He isn't there, what are we missing? Did we not see His presence in the sunset that night? Did we forget that time He brought us a treasured friend in a time when we really needed it? Are we missing out on His pursuit and presence in these seemingly mundane encounters?
Next time you feel as if God is far off, ask yourself where you could be missing out on Him. Ask Him to help you recognize where He's at even if it's different than what you are used to. Remember that He is always in pursuit of His children. No matter how much we deny Him, He will forever chase after our hearts.
We must continue to seek after Him even as the feelings and experiences fade.
"You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water."
|| Psalm 63:1
Are we seeking God with our whole being? Do we feel empty and void if we don't spend time with Him during our week? As David states in this Psalm, "In a dry and parched land where there is no water." When we have dry and dull seasons with God, are we still seeking Him or do we give up thinking He doesn't care about us? It's in these seasons when we truly come to know Him as a constant Father who is present with us.
In the times of my life where I felt God the least, I had to remind my soul to seek after Him. Even on the days when I wanted to choose friends or fast fixes over Him, I went to His presence. It's in those moments where I felt His gentle whisper and reminder that He sees me. In fact, "even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." In the darkest parts of our lives, He is there whether we believe it or not. He will always choose us. However, we must keep seeking after His presence. To seek means to hunt down, to go in search of, or to chase after. Are we seeking God? Are we chasing after His presence and hunting Him down even if it doesn't feel like He is there?
Today, ask God to reveal Himself to you.
God wants to speak to you. Push past the doubts and ask Him to speak to you. What is He saying? How do you feel? Try sitting in silence for a few minutes, focus on your breathing, and recite a prayer or verse from the Bible. Let Holy Spirit speak to you and remind you of His presence. In this moment, ask God where is at in the room you are in. Trust that He is right there with you no matter how you feel or what doubts come. He wants to speak to YOU! You are His beloved child who He loves to be with.