WHEN YOU CAN'T FEEL GOD
For years my old youth group went to this conference called, "Dare 2 Share". Anyone that has gone to this conference with me probably has a lot of sentimental memories there.
*Que slideshow below*
Basically, this conference is packed with action-filled dramas, passionate preaching, and incredible worship. This conference is about equipping and inspiring us to fulfill the great commission and giving kids the tools of evangelism.
For years the same Pastors that spoke at these conferences had poured into my life. There was never a time I went were I didn't cry because I was truly touched and inspired by a message or by one of their skits. In an arena filled with other Christians, worshiping and lifting up the name of Jesus, there's nothing like it. It's like a glimpse into Heaven.
But after we hopped back on the bus and headed home, minute by minute the energy was fading. From experiencing God's presence resting heavily on us, to going back home to our routine life... something just wasn't the same. I was then introduced to the term, "Spiritual High".
A Spiritual High is just how it sounds, it's when you are at a spiritual event and you are on the mountain top.
A spiritual high is not sustaining.
Soon after these trips, my friends and I would notice each other struggling. Struggling to grasp the "feeling" of God in our lives.
GOD PURSUED US FIRST
Before diving into any "tips" on how to pursue God when we can't feel him, we need to first realize that God is the one that pursues us first.
In 1 John 4:10, the Bible tells us that this is what love looks like; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a sacrifice for our sin.
You see, if it were up to us to be the one to love first, or seek first, or pursue first...there wouldn't be us. It's because he chose us first, pursued us first, loved us first.
It's his love that created us and it's his love that redeemed us.
But it's not up to us. God has made himself abundantly known, and freely accessible. There is no veil between (Matthew 27:51) us anymore! There is no place that his presence does not reside. In Psalms 139:7-12 says:
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
I'm no scholar, but my deduction from this text is that God is ever present. There is no heights nor depths in which he is not there.
This is what the Bible tells us, this is truth.
IF HE'S ALWAYS WITH ME, WHY CAN'T I FEEL HIM?
In my senior year of High School I took a college course in Psychology. This was one of the most interesting classes I've had. I loved learning about the brain and about behavior.
One of our units covered developmental theories. I will not bore you with the details, but a Psychologist named Jean Piaget founded the theory of, "Object Permanence" which means the understanding that an object continues to exist even when it is not seen. We had watched videos of babies sitting on the ground playing with a toy, and then the toy is tucked under a blanket. The baby is clueless as to where it has gone. When the toy is uncovered, amazement comes across it's face.
Pro Tip: If you want to be an amazing magician, your target audience are babies.
Anyways, my point here is that even though the toy was under the blanket, does not mean that it ceased to exist.
When we aren't in a "youth camp" environment where we can feel His presence heavily, doesn't mean that his presence isn't with us when we can't feel Him.
WE NEED TO PURSUE GOD
This is going to sound really cliche, but I think it all comes back to this. We just need to pursue him. Continuing to pursue God is what is going to give us fresh air and new life, but standing around waiting to "feel" his presence will leave us waiting.
We need to pursue God for him, rather than for his presence.
The more that we pursue God for the fullness of him, then we see him continuously pour into us.
If you're looking for him, you have to pursue him.
I know this wasn't a "5 step" formula to recreate those experiences, but I hope this challenges you to seek first God. When we can't "feel" his presence, odds are we aren't seeking his heart.