This post on Faith When You Cannot See or Feel God was written by Jeffrey Chen, who is pursuing a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary. Jeffrey has a passion for sharing God’s love with those around him. He blogs at The Wayvy Life.
Hi everybody! I want to take a quick break from my series on relationships to share about something I have been learning recently in my faith journey. For almost two years now, I have felt distant from God. Not that I do not believe in God, but I do not feel as close to Him as I did for a period of time during my junior year of college. During my junior year, I was on what I call a “spiritual high”. I had really recommitted my life to Jesus and felt “on fire” for the Lord in a sense. I could really feel the Holy Spirit working through me as I sought to serve others through my leadership position in Young Life College (a Christian organization I was involved in). I would spend a lot of time in the Word and prayer and would be having conversations in my head with God often. I truly felt the presence of God like I never had before.
But, I eventually came down from this “high”. Not in a sudden crash, but gradually until I realized one day I no longer felt all that close to God. And until recently, I was frustrated and really down about this. I was confused. Why did I no longer feel close to God? Why I was not on fire for Him? Why do I not feel a desire to pursue Him, and read my Bible, and pray to Him? I couldn’t figure it out and thought something was wrong with me. As a result, I viewed my faith as in a “bad place”. Because I could not feel God’s presence in my life, and it was my fault. Of course He was pursuing me, but I was not pursuing Him.
This was really frustrating. I tried to figure out how to “fix” my faith life. How could I get back on good terms with God? But then, after talking to some friends and reading parts of a book for one of my classes (“Darkness is My Only Companion” by Kathryn Greene-McCreight), I realized something. How close I feel to God really is not all that important. Sure, I wish I felt Him all the time, but that is not what Christianity is actually about. The same goes for seeing God in our lives. Yes, it is nice when we can see how God is working in our lives in amazing and miraculous ways, but often we are left confused and unsure of His plan. We don’t understand what the heck He is doing sometimes. The thing is, that is ok. It is ok to not always feel God’s presence or see Him at work in your life. Because that is not what faith is about.
As a matter of fact, it is written in the Bible, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1). Do you see that? Faith is not about believing in God because we see or feel Him, but believing even though we do not see or feel Him! My grandparents are a great example of people with tremendous faith. While they are getting old and their health is declining, they maintain amazing faith and trust in God. I think about them when reading this passage because my grandmother has unfortunately lost her vision over the last few years. She literally cannot see anything anymore. Yet, whenever I talk to her, she tells me how she continues to lean on God each and every day, and that is so inspirational to me. What faith they both have.
So, for me, I had to go back to the essence of salvation and grace. God loves me not because of what I do to feel close to Him, but simply just loves me for who I am, as I am. What matters is that I still accept Him back in my heart, even when I feel far from Him or do not understand what He is doing in my life. That is what true faith in God is about.
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