Presence Devotion #6
“Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” Matt. 28:20
“I feel like God has left me. I just don’t feel Him any more.”
Do these words sound familiar? I have lost count of the amount of times I have heard people declare with frustration and desperation that they feel as though God has abandoned them. These words have often come from people who I knew personally to be strong believers, or at some point in their journey, evidently on fire with a passion for God. Even David, a man after God’s own heart lamented: My God, my God, why have you deserted me? (Psalm 22:1)
I, myself have experienced rather embarrassing seasons of lying upon the kitchen floor for what has, on occasion, amounted to six months at a time, feeling defeated and deflated, wondering what it is that God is wanting me to do and where on earth He has disappeared to.
I feel as though we all experience this at some point in our faith walk, perhaps not always to the same degree as my despair took me, but I am grateful for the lesson that God taught me during that period of God’s ‘hidden-ness’. God was wanting me to learn that His presence moves in ebbs and flows. We all love to flow in the Spirit and the manifest presence of God, but there are times when He hides from us, though we know that even in hiding, He is still present, for He said that He will never leave us, nor forsake us (Deut. 31:8).
The time of hidden-ness is not a wasted season. God is always working within us. Hidden-ness is about deepening our ability to listen to the Holy Spirit. It’s about setting ourselves in a position to allow God to do what He wills in our hearts and minds. We are learning the hard walk of faith. It is very easy to trust God when his presence is manifest. It is therefore a great honour to be brought by God into a place where we must stand firm during His hidden-ness. It means that He believes we are ready for the trial. It is testing, but it is exercise for our faith muscle. God only wants for us to become stronger. He is teaching us to know His presence, even when we cannot feel Him.
- Read Matthew 4:1-11. How does Jesus teach us to respond to trials and temptations when we are feeling weak and alone?
- How does the reality of God’s presence change the way you see times of hidden-ness?
- What scriptures do you draw upon to strengthen you in testing times?
- What can you do to encourage someone who might be going through a hard time this week?