November 19, 2018
By Steve King
How do you deal with the times when you don’t “feel” God and have the blues?
I have been asked that question more times than I can count, and it becomes more popular during the holiday season.
The following have helped me through my “God seems distant” times:
- Don’t equate emotions with closeness to God. You can be close to God and not “feel” His presence. A study of the emotional life of Jesus Christ demonstrates this truth. He was angry, wept (John 11:33-38), threw Himself on the ground, repeatedly asked for prayer support (Hebrews 5:7-8), and was “grieved to the point of death” (Matthew 26:36-46). During these times, Jesus did not “feel” close to God, yet He was always in communion with God the Father.
- The apostle Paul who wrote Philippians, the classic book on joy, reached a point when he “despaired even of life” and obviously did not “feel” God’s presence. Why did God allow Paul to go through this? He tells us “so that we would not trust in ourselves, but God who raises the dead; who delivered us … and will deliver us” (2 Cor 1:9-11). During that season, despite his despair, Paul was full of the Holy Spirit and experienced the power of God in his life (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
- I have found much hope and renewal during my “down times” in remembering that I am not the author or perfecter of my faith—Jesus is! He authored my faith, is perfecting it, and ever lives to pray for me as does the Holy Spirit (Heb 7:25; 12:1-2). He invites me to come to Him and find rest (Matt 11:28-30).
- Realize that emotions are gifts from God but need to be evaluated and shaped by truth. Emotions can attach themselves to lies, deceive us, and put us in bondage. Truth sets us free (John 8:31-32), yet experiencing freedom is a process aided by truth, friends, trust in God, good medical care and healthy habits (1 Timothy 4:8,5:23; Psalm 73; 2 Cor 1:11).
- One of the most helpful books I have read is The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero. It is loaded with fresh insights for sincere Christians who have not learned some of the essentials of emotional health.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all (2 Cor 13:14). Happy Thanksgiving!