Do you ever feel like God just isn't there?
Although our minds may tell us that we shouldn't be driven by our emotions when it comes to trusting in God we do it anyway. Because Scripture says the "righteous shall live by faith"(Romans 1:17) and "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6), we should always feel like He's there. Right? Well, let's talk about it. I know how people may be feeling at times and if you find yourself discouraged by a feeling like He has left you, know this: His mighty hand in there. Yes, the Lord is there, though at times it seems like He just isn't around right now.
Unanswered prayer, a series of disappointing events, or a betrayal by someone close to you can cause you to think that God has checked out of your life. Hang tough friend. This is part of the fight of our faith. Other times we may get so busy with our day-to-day lives that we feel helpless and guilty. It's like we're not doing enough for Him and maybe He just got tired of hanging around us. This is not the case. God's Word is always true: Because He has promised He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), we can be assured of His constant presence whether we are struggling with a painful situation or just too busy to notice He is near.
Getting and regaining your spiritual focus in Yeshua is essential. I want to give you seven ways to focus on Him which will enable you to sense His presence in the midst of your current trial by fire:
1. Come Clean with Him. There are times you can't sense God's presence because there's something blocking the communication between the two of you. He hasn't left, but your sensitivity to His presence can be affected by unconfessed sin in your life. Sin causes separation from our Lord. David, the Psalmist, said, "When I kept silent (about his sin) my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord" -- and you forgave the guilt of my sin" (Psalm 32:3-5). If you feel God isn't around it is probably because the two of you haven't talked in awhile. In most cases we have avoided the thought of Him for so long we have lost sensing Him altogether. Listen, confess to God what's on your heart and mind and ask Him to give you an ear to hear His voice again. 1 John 1:9 tells us: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." When your fellowship with Him is restored, the communication will flow again. Therefore: Get clean (through the forgiveness of Messiah) and let your prayers of thansgiving and praise flow.
2. Read Scripture Aloud. When you audibly speak God's inspired Word, you will start to sense His power and His presence. The Bible says God's Word is "living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12). That sharp sword will either make you aware of its weight or prick your heart through the conviction of the wrong paths you've been on. Get right with the Lord immediately because a pricked heart is better than a dull heart any day, wouldn't you agree?
3. Sing Him a Love Song. God inhabits the praises of His people. Ever wonder why you sometimes feel closer to God when you're in a worship service with your congregation on Shabbat? Or, when you are singing hymns or praising the Lord in song? You feel this way because that's where your true heart of worship takes place. When you start praising Yeshua, regardless of where you are, you'll begin to know His presence. You will also, at that moment, not be so inordinately focused on yourself, but on Him. When we open the door of our hearts to love Yeshua, He will meet us where we are.
4. Say His Name. People around you may be using God's name right and left (as a swear word in anger, or as a thoughtless expression), but Scripture says there is power in the name of Yeshua because "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Say His name aloud -- as the Answer to all you seek, as the Source to calm your soul, as the One whose presence you long for and you will sense the power of His presence...and His peace.
5. Utter a Breath Prayer. There are times when we really need Him but we just don't know what to say or where to begin in prayer. You should start by saying His name and then speak your heart's cry. For me, often times it's just "Yeshua, I need You" or "Yeshua, give me a heart for You." The simplest of cries are the ones that penetrate our Lord's heart -- and ours -- the quickest.
6. Take a Walk. Exercise brings your body, mind and heart to life. Plus it's healthy! Feel spiritually dead? Get outside, move around, confess to Him what's on your heart and let Him wake you up: spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc. The best times with God are when we are walking while we simply pour out our hearts to Him.
7. Breathe Deeply. Sometimes we can't sense God's presence because there's too much of everything else going on. Too much noise. Too much traffic. Too much confusion. Too many thoughts running rampant in our minds. Too much anxiety. Too much of everything. Just pray for His shalom and center your mind, and heart, on Him and start to breathe deeply. Try it. Exhale the distracting thoughts. Inhale a desire to sense His presence. Exhale your preoccupation with self and the cares of this world. Inhale a desire to know Him more completely. Exhale the worries of the moment. Inhale His shalom, His peace. Now, don't you feel better already? Can you begin to sense that you're in His arms? There's a reason His Word says "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).