I Can't Feel God

Maybe I’m different, maybe I’m not, but I tend to feel closest to God in a storm.

Breakups, family issues, deep struggles with sin or doubts, loneliness, illness, the death of a dream, or worse, a person. I cling to Jesus in those times and I always feel Him very near.

Ever since I was little I have understood God as my provider of joy when it came from nowhere else. As my protector from the things I feared because He is in control and I am not. And as the One who was there in spirit, when I was sick with loneliness. 

I know THAT God. I have experienced that God. The helper in times of trouble. The healer when I'm hurt. I trust that God.

For the past few months my life has been busy. Busy and good. Nothing of major painful proportions has taken place and I’ve noticed the God feels quiet distant. Maybe that is why I haven’t written a blog in two months. Good writing comes from pain. I learn about God from pain.

I have no pain at the moment.

Does that mean I have no God?

I forced myself to listen to some emotional worship music this morning just to feel something. Where are you God? Maybe I could conjure up some tears of thankfulness or plea for grace if I listened to someone sing about how wretched a sinner I am. 

As I listened I lifted my hands and I felt nothing. I tried the song that I know makes my heart sing with awe and wonder every time. As I listened I held my Bible and I felt…nothing.

No thankfulness for grace. No whispers of love in my heart.  No conviction for sin.

I fell on my knees and said “God, I don’t know this side of You. I don’t deeply know this God who provides and allows good times. Calm seas. I don’t know this Jesus. I don’t know how to need you right now.”

Do you always have to need me?

I don’t know how else to interact with you?

You can just be with me?

But if I’m not asking for something, what do I say? If I’m not crying about something, how can you comfort? If I’m not sad, how can you cheer?

This little exchange went on for a while before I realized a few things.

First….I am super dramatic. Ha. “I don’t know the God that allows good times?” Wow. That is crazy talk. God must laugh at me when I say stuff like that.

My sister-in-law sent me the following text the other day about my 5 year old niece. “The other night I watched Annie with the girls and Abi (my niece) just looked at me and said in all seriousness, “But it’s a hard knock life for me, Mom.”

Dramatic niece. I have no idea where she might have gotten that ;) 

The second thing I realized, or rather remembered, was that like ANY RELATIONSHIP my relationship with God does and even should ebb and flow.

Hum.

That's a freeing thought, isn’t it.

You mean I don’t have to feel guilty for not desperately needing Jesus right now?

No, I don’t think I do. I miss Him. I want His presence. I’m aware of Him daily but right now things are just….comfortable.

I’ve written before about the parallels of our relationship with God and that of a Father and a child but its times like this that I remember that God’s relationships with us (the church) is also the model for all romantic relationships. Yup. God didn’t use marriage as the analogy of Christ’s love for His people; he created marriage as an analogy of His love for us.

Think about that!

If romantic relationships are an analogy of God’s love for His people, and romantic relationship ebb and flow, why wouldn’t our relationship with God? Sometimes things feel intense….and sometimes they just feel comfortable. Sometimes one person needs the other deeply and sometimes they just don’t. Sometimes there is a ton of communication and sometimes there isn’t.

The essence of the relationship, the thing that holds it together, the thing that makes it a relationship, isn’t that one person always needs the other, it’s simply the commitment. The choice, the agreement that both parties have made to be together.

I’m committed to Jesus. He is committed to me. Come hell or happy times we will be together.

Not because I am good at it or faithful….but because He is perfectly, everlastingly both.

Thank You, Jesus.

"Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of lights, from whom there is no variableness or turning" James 1:17