I awoke this morning to a text from Katie, a twenty year old who loves God as much as any college kid I know. She talks with Him daily. She craves the Bible’s wisdom. And when it comes to sharing the hope of Jesus, you can count on Katie.
So imagine my surprise to read her message: “I need prayer. Cannot feel God’s love. He is there but cannot sense Him. I’m blind, have lost my way.”
Katie? Consistent, Christ-like Katie? How could it be?
Maybe, if you’ve walked a similar path with God, there’s been a dry spell in your own life. While your head realizes He is faithful and real and intimate, it’s difficult to feel Him. There’s a distance that catches you by surprise. And for those who follow Him closely, it’s a little scary.
Is something wrong? Are you supposed to fix it? Will it soon pass? Here’s a little of the conversation between Katie and me. By all means, please eavesdrop:
Me: Praying. Say the Truth out loud. God is there, whether you feel Him or not. You’re His kid, and He’s holding on tight, not the other way around (Deut. 31:8).
Katie: I know the Truth. I believe, but something is blocking me from feeling it.
Me: Have you asked God what it might be? (James 1:5).
Katie: Yes. Asked God if sin is in the way. Nothing came to mind. Nothing has changed in my devotion. Just feeling detached.
Me: Ah, it’s the wilderness, a place all maturing Christians must visit. You are ready. Buckle up for an eye-opening ride; when you arrive at the destination, it’s gonna be worth it! (James 1:2-4).
Katie: Oh, great. 🙂 Don’t think I’ll like it, but if it means being closer to God, I’m in.
Me: More intimate, more dependent, more mature. I won’t say it’s an easy place, but it’s necessary. Jesus followers must cling to faith and not feelings. One way to “get it” is a little desert detour—you’ll need His Truth there. You’ll be thirsty for it. 🙂
Katie: Soooo thirsty. What’s the shortest way out? LOL.
Me: No matter how you feel (or don’t feel), run toward Him with confidence. Speak Scripture out loud. Remember what He has done and what He is doing now. And know you’re traveling WITH Him. He’s doing the work; you’re just along for the life-changing ride.
Katie: Reminds me of Moses. Forty years? Say it ain’t so!
Me: LOL, it could have been a forty day trip! Those travelers ran in lots of directions. God knows the way out—all eyes on Him.
Katie: Like Job, I guess. Walk in the right direction, even when I don’t hear God or understand at the moment.
Me: Yep! And in the book of Esther God isn’t mentioned at all, but His fingerprints are all over it.
Katie: So the wilderness is a privilege–I’m in good company, LOL.
Me: Very good company. God Almighty is there, guiding the way. Can’t wait to hear about your journey of faith–oh, the beautiful lessons He’ll show you! Blessed travels, my blessed sister.
If you’d like to read more about moving through the desert, check out One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer. She says the following: “Don’t try to figure out the wilderness. Don’t try fixing the wilderness. Your job as a treasured child of God is simply to yield to it, the place that makes us want the only things worth having” (68).
- “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deut. 31:8)
- “Consider it joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).