I was recently talking with a good friend about why sometimes we try so hard to get something out of our devotions or we try to concentrate in prayer, and then there is nothing. We don’t feel on fire for Christ or “in tune” with God. There’s just nothing there. Like the fire is dying or our “God tank is empty,” as she put it.
The only thing that comes to my mind is that sin separates us from God. Every Wednesday morning in South Africa, we had prayer. I always struggled to pray and I hated that. It wasn’t until I confessed my stuff to God that I was able to focus and get something out of the prayer time. I think it’s the same when we read the Bible. God cannot dwell with sin so if we are carrying stuff around, we cannot be intimate with Him. I think it tears Him up just as much, if not unfathomably more, that we don’t feel anything in those times when we so badly desire Him. Because of that separation, we are unable to get close to Him.
Lastly, I think we go through seasons in our relationship with God. There are great “summer” seasons, that usually happen in the summer for me, or right after missions trips when I just feel on fire and ready to serve God in any way that I can. And then there are the “winter” seasons which ironically I usually feel in the winter, when God seems far away and my relationship with Him is far from easy. I think these seasons are ok and normal. We experience hard times to grow in our faith and to build a stronger relationship with God. It’s the same with brokenness. It’s hard and it doesn’t feel good, but it is good because it allows us to realize our dependence on God.
When we realize that we are going through the “winter” season, we need to not base our faith on our feelings anymore but rather what we know to be true. It is so easy to just think, “Hmm. I don’t feel like loving God today. So..I’ll do it later.” Or, “It’s hard for me to believe in God today, but I’m sure I’ll believe more sooner or later. I’ll just wait this out.” I think those responses are very wrong. We cannot wait until we feel good to follow God. That’s when the slow fade away from Christ begins. But that’s a whole other blog. [In short, read the lyrics to Casting Crowns’ song Slow Fade if you want to know what I mean by that.]
God desires every part of us and He is worthy of it all.