Archive for April 1st, 2011

April 1, 2011

Now, Life – a Column by Tiffany Peterson

A PAINFUL QUESTION ANSWERED

When you don’t feel God, does that mean he’s not there?  Has he left me? Have I done something wrong to make him go away?  There are questions, and often they seem painful.

So, when it just seems God might be “absent,” has he left? This is a question that I have asked myself many times, and it can be such a painful, scary, and lonely time to go through. I think it’s something that many Christians experience at some point in their walk with God. I remember feeling this in the past, and I felt it again recently.

This time I asked myself, “What’s wrong with me?” I know that God hasn’t left me; I know that He is here. I’m just wondering why I can’t feel him. I know in my head that it’s not about our feelings, but when we lose all the feelings we once had – it’s really difficult – then it becomes all about our faith.

Will we continue to serve him when we don’t feel him? Will we keep talking to him when we don’t hear anything in return? I have to admit it is much more difficult through these times. But I know in my spirit that He is still right there; he hears me, he loves me, and he still has a plan for my life whether I feel him or not. God promises us in the book of Hebrews, chapter 13 and verse 5, that he “will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”

I don’t think it necessarily matters what is going on in our lives, either. There were many nights when I was in prison that I would be comforted by God’s love and feel overwhelmed by His presence. But now, I am in an incredible marriage, we encourage and love each other, but I can still sometimes feel a void where I am missing the feeling of God’s presence. I know in my spirit that this is temporary and I will feel God’s presence again, but the test for all of us is, “Will we remain faithful until we do?

It’s during these times, when we don’t feel God’s presence, that we must diligently seek Jesus through prayer, reading the Bible, attending church, listening to worship music and praising him, reading and listening to spirit-filled messages. I would suggest finding Bible verses that are comforting to you in your specific circumstances, write them down, and keep them with you to reference, and speak them out loudly throughout the day. There is power in the spoken word of God.

I believe that we all experience tests and trials throughout our lives, but they are always temporary. But we can learn to enjoy life despite our circumstances, by trusting God to get us through. Jesus tells us in the gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  Of course it’s not easy; we need to turn to Jesus for help. He is there for us, always, and whether we feel Him or not, He is there.

I wanted to share some Bible scriptures that have comforted me when I haven’t felt God’s presence, and I pray that they will bring you comfort and allow you to remember that God will never leave you nor forsake you:

James 1:2-4 (NIV) “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Isaiah 43:2 (NLT) “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

1 Peter 1:6 (NLT) “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.”

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

Psalm 62:8 (NIV) “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Lamentations 3:22-24 (NLT) “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!’”