It Is Not About Feelings
by Fred Pruitt
(Originally posted as “Has God Forsaken Me,” on January 30, 2013.)
A reader wrote who was wondering if God had cast her off, since she didn’t “hear” Him like she used to do.
I understand where you are coming from, since I have been in the same boat and waters you are in currently, and almost everyone I know in Christ experiences something like that here and there, some for a long time. There is nothing wrong with you or your Christian “experience,” since your Christ experience is simply Christ Himself, and He is not lacking in anything, and is not lacking in anything in you.
You’ve told me of great trouble and hard stuff in your life, the sexual molestation, etc., and I know the deep pain and difficult lives that brings. I also personally know many people who have used those horrible experiences to bring life to others, refusing to identify themselves as sexual abuse “victims,” and living their whole lives being nothing but that, but realizing that is all in the Father’s hands and now in Christ He uses your past for the benefit of others, as you are led to do so.
Healing for ourselves if we have been abused or violated is most often realized, by turning our pain that we have experienced, into hearts for others to help them in their pain, as WE have been helped in ours. If you want to read something about that here is an article that talks about it. Redefinition
You ask is God punishing you for not following Him for several years. Read the 15th Chapter of Luke to familiarize yourself with how your Heavenly Father views your return. I think that will answer that issue for you. God is love!
As far as God no longer “speaking” to you, or you are not “hearing” Him, it is my thought that the Lord is bringing you into a little deeper understanding and walk in Him, and teaching you the meat of faith, rather than the baby-food of faith. You are growing up in Him, not being forsaken!
Let me be blunt. Life in Jesus Christ is a faith life operating in grace! A life of not looking at the things which are seen, but looking at the things which are unseen. Whether or not we can see anything or feel anything that we might consider indicators of God’s presence with us, we believe and stick to what we have believed.
It does not matter a bit if we “feel” anything. God is not a “feeling.” He is Spirit, not flesh, and flesh cannot “detect” Spirit by any of our human senses. Our human senses can only detect and react to what goes on in our temporal world. People sometimes say they “felt God,” or “got goosebumps all over,” etc., as a sign to them that God was near, or had come to “visit” them at their church service or in their prayer time. And then often out of that way of thinking a whole theology develops, organized around the idea we have to “feel God.” So every prayer time, every church service, the main goal it seems to me, for some, is re-experiencing that “good feeling” the last time they were in church, or at that meeting they had last summer when it seemed like revival broke out. “Church” or “prayer,” etc., then have to be measured by the intensity of the “God feelings” we experience.
And of course, that leads to condemnation and ineffectiveness when we do not get “the feelings.” We think something is wrong. It does not occur to us, that Christ is our Life whether there are any confirming feelings or not. It may not occur to us, if we are looking for something that used to happen, that God is moving us out in a more grown-up way, which means we begin to live and operate out of our own inner resources in Christ, taking it as fact (which needs no feelings to shore it up, facts are facts) that we are His and walk in His ways by His strength and by the Mind of Christ within us.
When we are human babies we are (hopefully) pampered and waited on and doted on the whole time. We cry for food or we cry from discomfort but if we have food and dry diapers we still cry for the companionship of our mother and father. Babies light up when you walk in the room, not because you have their bottle or are going to change their diaper, but because it is YOU coming to do it! Person to person, that’s life!
As we go through the years of our human growth, we are more and more out from under our parents’ full scrutiny and more and more on our own. When we complete our education and move out into the adult world, we are still green in knowledge and experience, but all those years of childhood and the things we experienced have made us what we are as we go out, and we are humanly equipped to meet the challenges of human living. And that is regardless of how we feel about it.
One major aspect of the adult world, is that we are not children anymore and are not treated like children. There may be no one around to say, “Poor baby,” when we stub our toe, or to exhort us to do our homework. We have to gut it out ourselves, sometimes with no human comfort and no place of respite. We just keep pressing on.
Now I think that could be what is happening with you. Don’t feel anything anymore? God doesn’t talk to you like He used to? That is great, because it shows the Spirit is leading you into a greater faith life, where your faith depends on nothing except Christ and His fulfillment of His own promises! He is leading you to earthquake-proof faith, so that should the whole world fall down around you, you still stand in what God has promised, and do not trust your eyes and ears and feelings, but only Him Who promised, and Who fulfills His promises.
Whether we get a spiritual “confirmation” or not, we believe. Whether we feel Him or not, we believe. Even if we pray and the heavens feel like brass, we believe. We believe Him, and what He has told us. He does not go back on His own word – the fulfillment is up to Him and not up to us – so there is no reason we should go back on “our” word, to trust Him implicitly to work “all things after the counsel of His own will,” (Eph 1:11), in every aspect of our lives. The same faith that was in Job is in us, and like Job we, too, can cry to God (and many of us have), “Though you slay me yet shall I trust you!” (Job 13:15).
So that is really all I can tell you. We overcome by faith through faith operating in grace. When we get a little farther down the road, we begin to realize it is not even “our” faith, but His faith operating in us! There is no other answer in the things of God, except faith in, of, and toward God. There is no magic formula for “hearing God’s voice,” or “experiencing” His presence. Sometimes there are special moments the Spirit gives us, moments when he lifts us a bit higher than we normally see and He gives us a little glimpse. When something like that happens, it is wonderful indeed! But whether we have such moments or not, the truth does not change, and God’s promises are the same.
As far a maybe something a little “practical” to do about this, here is something to think about. Just beginning to confess God’s truth about you, rather than your feelings or lack of them. Read Psalms as if you are the author, and the wrestlings with God that bring faith to the Psalmists becomes our faith in our situations. When Jesus said to the apostles, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,” let’s take Him at His word and know He does the “making,” and not us, just like it says in the verse – “I will make you …”
Just tell the Lord you recognize Galatians 2:20 is your personal truth, you are standing on it, that you have been crucified with Christ, (which means you “died”), but miraculously you still live, but not you, but Christ. And that the life you are now living on a daily basis, is by the faith OF HIM who has become “one spirit” with you! (1 Cor 6:17).
“Be not afraid, only believe!” (Mk 5:36).
I hope this helps. Let me know.