God, where are you?
It was only a few months ago that I went from feeling completely in sync with God, to feeling completely lost. I went from loving prayer, to struggling to even know how to talk to God. From worship being a place of God’s presence, to it being a place of frustration where I couldn’t ‘feel’ anything. I was so hurt and angry at God for suddenly disappearing.
During this time of persistently going to God, without even fully believing He was listening (even some days only to shout at him for being distant), I did a bible plan by John Bevere, called ‘God, where are you?’. Within this there was a short film called ‘Abandoned’ by Messenger International which really helped me see things from a different perspective…
After watching this, I found a lot of comfort in knowing that God would NEVER abandon me.
‘In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me’
– Jeremiah 29 v 12-13
Even though I couldn’t see or feel God, that didn’t mean he wasn’t there. It just meant that He was teaching me something; how to hear Him in different ways, how to be resilient in faith, how to know His presence without feeling it. This wasn’t a sudden moment where I was magically able to hear him again and feel his presence instantly - I still felt really far from Him - but it did help me think that maybe, just maybe, God knew what he was doing here. I just needed to keep going and be patient, trusting him through this (which is so NOT easy).
During this time, I remember regularly talking to people who were more spiritually mature than me. They reassured me that going through this was normal and was actually a good thing – even if I still complained to them like a broken record. They helped me understand that this meant I was ready for God to trust me enough, to allow me to go through this! God wouldn’t have allowed me to go through anything that I wasn’t ready for.
BTW this means that whatever you are going through, God has given you enough strength to handle it; enough strength to defeat it!
‘So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So, when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world’
– 1 Peter 1 v 6-7
So, what went from being something terrifying became something exciting (and still pretty terrifying). I began to become more confident that God was working in me, He was putting my heart back together. I realise now, that even though I was in a good place with God before this time, I was still completely broken by past hurts, I hadn’t really dealt with anything. But God knew that I had to be ready for this change, ready to be purified like Gold. But, as I am more precious than Gold, God wasn’t going to do this until he knew I would not leave him through the process, as the enemy would also be ready to pounce as all my insecurities would be exposed, in order to deal with them!
As I write this, I have been looking over my journal, going back to when I was in this wilderness and wow, I was SO unaware and blind to what was happening! God, was literally shaping and speaking to me the entire time, it is there in black (and lots of pretty coloured) ink! Through my angry prayers and confused letters to God, was His undoubtable voice. And now that I think about it, those awesome people helping me through this kept pointing to God speaking, I just wasn’t ready to see it. I didn’t think God was there because I was looking in a different direction to the way he was speaking. But that didn’t stop his still voice whispering truth to me, beyond the words I was writing and reading.
So when you are going through this, remember:
Get an army of spiritually wise people around you! This could be your mum or dad, your youth worker, someone in your church, a mentor, etc. They will be able to pray with you and encourage you that God is speaking even when you are blind to it.
KEEP GOING! Do not give up on God. This is a good thing that you are going through, because it means WHEN you come out the other side, you will know God in a way you never could have imagined. Keep being disciplined in spending regular time with him, reading His word. Because, His word is for you and He will speak through it to you. He is listening, and He is speaking!
Write it all down. Every little thing. Even if you just think ‘this is what I’m thinking not what God is saying’ or ‘that is just that person trying to help, but it’s not really from God’. I had someone who didn’t even know I was going through this time come to me with a bible verse: Colossians 1 v 3-10 – ‘We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power, so you will have all the endurance and patience you need’ - I received that and still didn’t think that was from God? He is speaking.
I am so thankful that I had this time in my life, because the confidence it has given me in knowing God’s faithfulness is incredible! I no longer need to feel God to know he is there. Instead, I trust that he will never leave me. I choose to praise Him and go towards Him in every situation:
‘I will praise you on the mountain and I will praise you when the mountain is in the way’
– Highlands by Hillsong United.