During difficult times it can be challenging to hang on to your faith. There may be times when folks feel like they have lost their faith. They may say they cannot feel God’s presence or feel that they even have faith. But: “Faith…comes only when the outward fact penetrates to the inner heart of man and takes possession of him there — and this is the work of the Spirit”.– George Hendry.
So during times when I feel alone and do not sense God’s presence, I get to work. I remind myself that of course, faith and feelings are often two separate things. God is with me always. I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to envelope me. I have to consciously remind myself that God is with me and will uphold me. Do you know what? That reassurance that I must give myself reminds me a bit of when I was a kid. There were times when I would have to go down to the basement to fetch things for my folks. This would often be after dinner, and it was dark outside. The basement had lights, of course, but even with them on I would get spooked. I was scared of the boogie-man. Yep. I know; completely irrational ~ there is no such thing. No scary bad guy was going to jump out from behind the furnace and snatch me.
But there were times ~ even in my late teens ~ when I had to almost tell myself aloud “no boogie-man is going to get me”… and then I would run as fast as I possibly could to the washer and dryer, fold the clothes, start another load, grab the stack of clothes and run back upstairs. Whew! What I am saying is that despite my knowledge that there was no boogie-man, and despite my repeated experience that I was perfectly safe, those outward facts remained outward facts for years. It was only when those facts truly penetrated my heart that my fears evaporated. No, I had absolutely no bad experiences in my past that caused those fears to occur. I think I had a very active imagination.
So when we have those times when we do not fully feel God’s presence, it truly is because under those circumstances, our inner hearts have not been penetrated. Our fears or resistance or whatever have prevented us from being fully aware of His presence. For me, the key at that point is to just walk with God. I tell Him that I am not sensing Him or feeling Him or I tell Him that I am not “getting” His will or direction for me, and that I need Him to help me be aware so I can follow. And then: I do my best to just be quiet and wait. Here is the key: I know that I asked. I know that He heard me. I know that He will make me aware. That knowledge will keep the door to my heart open ~ sometimes a tiny crack, and sometimes wide open. Believe me: when I stay open to His graces and wait for His guidance, His presence and graces overflow and refresh me; just like a waterfall.