Ever Present

In my study group on Monday morning, one of my brothers confessed that he has times when God seems distant, and that joy seems hard to find. If we are honest with one another, we’ve all had to walk through trials and valleys without sensing God’s presence. It can feel much like stumbling around in the dark looking for a light switch in an unfamiliar room. In his book, A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis wrote that during one of the most painful times of his life, he cried out to God and got “a door slammed in [my] face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.” Have you ever felt that way?

Just because we sometimes feel that God is absent doesn’t mean He is. Just because you can’t track His footprints along the journey, doesn’t mean He’s not walking beside you. If you’re a believer, that feeling of being alone is always an illusion. Yes, always. Here’s how we can know He’s there.

On the cross, the Jesus we call Lord and Savior experienced the horror of rejection by His heavenly Father. He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46). This was an expression of the pain He felt. It wasn’t the pain of the nails that hurt Him most; it was the utter aloneness, the feeling of abandonment. And He did it so that you and I would never have to experience it alone.

Friends - the essence of the cross is substitution. Jesus faced our aloneness—the separation from God we had brought upon ourselves through sin—so that we would never have to. The Father turned His face away from His Son so that He would never have to turn His face away from us.

So, when we feel God is not there, that’s all it is—a feeling. A deceptive feeling that the enemy would love for us to live in. It has to be, because Jesus faced the full measure of our aloneness in our place and put it away forever. By His death, He reconciled us to God, so that we can know He will never leave us or forsake us. In our pain, it is often hard to see, but it is true.
So, in a way we can never fully comprehend, He was abandoned . . . for us.

What should we do, then, when we feel alone? Simply: walk by faith, not by sight. We must remind ourselves of the gospel, that God has removed all that could ever separate us from Him—and has given us Christ’s complete righteousness in its place. We must believe again in His finished work and that we couldn’t be closer to Him than we are right now, regardless of how we feel. And remember the promises of God, most of which are made to us for times in which God appears distant.

The gospel declares to us that God has made Himself close to us in Christ, holding us even tighter than a mother holds a newborn child (Isa. 49:15). When our feelings tell us that is not true, we must defy those feelings with faith in God’s promise.

When you can’t “feel” God, be assured, He’s there. The cross assures you that He is. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Nothing can ever separate you from His love. He has united Himself, through His Spirit, in everyone who believes. And just as He has done for everyone who puts their trust in Him, the Spirit is doing His best work in us during the dark times.

Father we are thankful that you are faithful to be with us in good times and in troubled times. Help us to always know you are present wherever we are and that we do not walk alone.  Comfort us with that promise.  Amen

Credit: Ron Kelley

No Comments





no tags