Monday, May 3, 2010

Help Me! I Can't Feel God!

Over the years, I have had numerous conversations with people deeply concerned that they had drifted away from God, or that they couldn’t feel God like they should. This kind of thought usually manifests itself with thoughts that say, “I can’t feel God anymore therefore, He must have left me!”

There is actually good news for those who are concerned about these things, and it isn’t simply advice that says, “Do better and He will come back to you.” Perhaps there are times when that is the best advice. It’s also good to remember that our feelings are not always reliable indicators of our spiritual condition.

I used to get hurt and frustrated when I would hear preachers say from the pulpit, “If you don’t feel God in this place tonight something must be wrong!” (I grew up in a classical Pentecostal denomination in Texas where Pentecostals are a lot more expressive.) As a young Christian, that kind of statement would send me reeling, questioning my salvation because I didn’t “feel” what I should feel. But as I matured in the Lord, I learned some things about the Christian walk, and some things about myself. I learned that it isn’t about our feelings. I learned that feelings can be greatly affected by the kind of week we have had or the argument we had on the way to church. I also learned that if you are an analytical person, you can over-think everything and become so distraught that it becomes difficult to feel anything but worry!

The painful reality is that we can drift away from God. We can put distance between ourselves and God. But the good news is that, if you are concerned about these things, guess what: It’s the Holy Spirit who is calling you and drawing you back to Himself! And if you can still hear the Holy Spirit and sense the alarm that comes when we drift too far away from God, then you are not as far away as you think!

So, what should you do if you are concerned that you are not where you should be with God? One of my favorite passages of Scripture comes from Hebrews 3:12-15:

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."

The fact that you are concerned is the reality that the Holy Spirit is drawing you, therefore you can still hear His voice so: RESPOND TO HIM! Right where you are just respond to Him! Ask Him for His help. Do something to move closer to him. Acts 17:24-27 says,

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

If Paul could tell pagan idol worshippers that God is not very far from them, how much more is this true for those who are already His children?


  1. I have to admit that I often FEEL that Im praying into thin air. Expecting God to show up after I pray is still all about me.. no? After all Im trying to do what is right. Somehow I feel his presence when I'm worshiping in church much more than by myself. (notice all the I'm) My sister tells me that Gods number 40 relates to the significance of the waiting period. Noah ..40 days and nights: Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days; the 40 years that the Jews wondered in the desert( but they had a visual sign every day). So if Im waiting for an answer to a prayer and nothing is changing in the situation at the present time, how can you determine if it is this waiting period or just a silent no? We are so technologically advanced in communication today. We expect immediate responses to our messages like when I text my kids and they don't respond to me I think they are ignoring me. ( which they probably are) That whole mind set has me wondering in my own wilderness sometimes and I don't feel His presence. Hey am I the only one out there?

  2. Well, Michael, You are not the only one out there. And there is no fool proof way of determining whether God's 'silence' is a 'no' or just a 'delay.' It's funny how even the words we use to discuss this subject are so heavily weighted to our perspective. To us God seems silent and yet He may be speaking very profoundly in that silence. To us it seems like a delay to God it is just His perfect timing.

    Everything is relative. I can't imagine God saying 'no' to your request that He save a loved one, but our loved one's may be saying no.

    There are times, according to James 4:2-3:

    2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
    3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    That can happen. Sometimes God IS answering us but it is such a slow process that we don't detect His movement.

    Sometimes what we consider blessing is at odds with what God calls blessing.

    As we pray and read His word and even fast, we will sharpen our sensitivity to the will of God.

  3. I am humbled with the thought that my motives may be my wishes and not God's will for me. Patience truly is a virtue that I am trying to learn. Thanks