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May 11, 2005

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What God Can Do When I’m Not Sure He is There

By: Dr. Skip Myers
Edgefielddaily.com columnist
web posted May 11, 2005

One of the things I have noticed about getting older is that every morning I am more aware of how I am feeling physically. When I was a teenager, I never gave much thought to the aches and pains I was feeling. But now, after a late night of softball or an intense day of yard work, I arise to an awareness of parts of my body I never considered before. More days seem to be beginning  with a consideration of how I am feeling and whether or not the way I feel will effect what I need to accomplish that day. Go ahead and laugh! Especially those who are older than I am and are saying, “Just you wait another 25 years!”

We can feel in a number of different ways. Each of these ways of feeling is a gift from God. We are able to feel physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The ability to feel lets us know we are alive. We were created by God to feel. When we feel, we experience and the more we experience, the more we grow in life. The necessary guideline in all of this is that we lay the proper foundation for our feeling and experiencing. The body, mind, and emotions do not provide a stable platform for our ability to feel. These tend to vary too much as they are affected by situations and circumstances. But connect our spirit with the Lord in a personal relationship and you have a solid platform for feeling and growth.

But what about those times when you don’t feel God? In his book, Finding Friendship with God, Fred McClung describes these times as follows: You wake up one morning and all your spiritual feelings are gone. You pray, but nothing happens. You rebuke the devil, but it doesn’t change anything. You go through spiritual exercises…you have your friends pray for you…you confess every sin you can imagine, then go around asking forgiveness of everyone you know.  You begin to wonder how long this spiritual gloom might last. Days? Weeks? Months? Will it ever end? …it feels as if your prayers simply bounce off the ceiling. In utter desperation, you cry out ,’What’s the matter with me?’

Ever feel like that? In reality, everyone who has a personal relationship with God will feel this way at least once in their lives. Why? Because this is one of the ways God will grow our lives. When a feeling of disconnection is not a matter of rebelling against God, it is usually God putting our faith to the test to see if we are going to practice what we know to be fact even though our feelings are telling us God is not there. Some call this a desert experience because their relationship with God becomes dry and arid.

When this happens we immediately begin to assume something is terribly wrong. At this point, we become worried, depressed, and guilty. The way we feel in all other areas of our life becomes effected. In reality, there is nothing wrong. This is God’s way of enabling us to base our relationship on the facts of who He is even when we are not feeling His presence. The fact is GOD LOVES YOU!! The fact is GOD IS WITH YOU!!

These desert experiences offer us an opportunity to practice what we know to be true even when our feelings are telling us to doubt. In the Bible, David was a person who had a special relationship with God. In the Psalms, we find many instances where David cries out asking God where He is and why God has deserted him. David expresses what he is feeling but if you look at Psalm 139, David knew the facts about his relationship with God.  Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, You right hand will hold me fast.  (Psalm 139:7-10)

The desert is a normal experience for us all. Just keep doing what you know to do: pray, read the Word, worship, fellowship with other believers, and remember, God is there whether you feel Him or not. Eventually, the feelings will return. Just don’t be led away from God by your feelings.

Dr. Myers is Pastor of Smiths Station Baptist Church, Smiths Station Alabama and a former Youth Minister of Sweetwater Baptist Church in Merriwether, Edgefield County (1981-1986) Full Bio
Contact Dr. Myers: E-mail

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