Yes, [God] wants you to sense His Presence, but He’s more concerned that you trust Him than that you feel Him. Faith, not feelings, please God -Rick Warren
Do you ever feel like God is hiding from you? Have you ever felt like you were going through the toughest time in your life, and He was no where to be found, or like your heartfelt prayers were unheard? If you’ve felt these or similar feelings, what were your responses?
I certainly have had times in my life where it seemed like God was silent. I have cried myself to sleep many nights, wondering if God was even listening to my intense pleas for comfort, clarity, and/or direction. These seasons in my life where God has seemed silent were some of the most challenging times in my faith journey. My responses have varied during these times. There have been times when God’s seeming distance made me shut down, and there have been times when His seeming distance made me pray more and continue to intentionally draw closer to Him. There have been times in these seasons when I have felt alone, depressed, lost, and even forgotten….
If you haven’t experienced these times of seeming distance, it is inevitable that you eventually will, You may even be enduring one of these seasons as you read this, and I want you to know that God has not forgotten you. In fact, it is impossible for Him to forget you. Your ability to inhale and exhale in this moment testifies that He hasn’t. Most importantly, your breath is evidence that you have not reached the end of your life’s story, so that means,
IT AIN’T OVER, and God’s goodness for your life is still ahead of you!
The opening quote from Rick Warren can be found in Chapter 14 of his book Purpose Driven Life entitled, When God Seems Distant. I read this chapter on January 14th, and it encouraged me so much by helping me to understand the value, yes, VALUE that is found in those seasons when God feels far away. That day after reading the chapter, I wrote these words in my journal,
When God feels distant I must stay continuously faithful and consistent in my relationship with Him. I love how Rick says, “[God] is more concerned that I trust Him than that [I] feel Him (p.112).” I must also remember that God matures me and strengthens my faith by pulling away from me during certain seasons. I have to make certain that this draws me toward, not away from God.
I am personally amazed by how purposeful these times are for making me stronger in faith and character. However, I must also remember that if I allow my view of God to become distorted when He seems distant, I can shut myself off from receiving what He has for me.
God distances Himself, so that you and I can check our own convictions. Our responses during those times are actually indicators to us. Our responses either confirm our faith and confidence in Him or they help us to identify that we don’t trust Him as much as we thought we did. Whichever is true, it’s an opportunity and invitation to draw closer to Him, and to grow in character and faith.
No matter what we feel, this truth remains,
…Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
[Seasons of distance] are a normal part of the testing and maturing of your friendship with God. Every Christian goes through it at least once, and usually several times. It is painful and disconcerting, but it is absolutely vital for the development of your faith
There are 4 things that Rick Warren encourages us to do during these times:
- Be Authentically Honest with God
- Focus on God’s Goodness
- Trust Him to keep His promises
- Remember what He has already done in your life
D’s Thoughts on These 4:
1). Be Authentically Honest with God: You can be authentically honest with God when your remember that He cares about what you care about!
2). Focus on God’s Goodness:You can focus on God’s goodness when you settle the fact that He IS GOOD, he has chosen not to be any other way, His Goodness is consistent, so I have learned to trust that if there is any area of my life that isn’t good, God isn’t done!
3). Trust Him to keep His promises: You can trust Him to keep His promises, when you read, and speak His promises over and into your life. You can do this by memorizing and meditating on His promises found in the Bible.
4). Remember what He has done in your life: Finally, your testimonies of triumph are fuel for you during these times because they are evidence to you of God’s track record! He is the same God, He does not change (Malachi 3:6 ; Hebrews 13:8), and that is GREAT NEWS!!!
My hope and prayer for you is that you would continue to grow confident in your faith toward God. That you would embrace those silent seasons understanding that they are building up your character and your faith. Our faith is the most valuable asset we have, and I want to be as strong in faith as possible, and I want the same for you!
That’s all for tonight, until next time, keep your Hope Living and Active!
Have A Great Week, Intentionally!