There are times I don't feel God. Right now has been one of those seasons. It's been less depressing as before because I know my salvation isn't based on whether or not I feel God. But I hate being like this. It's like writers block for a writer, everything that defines him is currently dry. It's beyond the frustration of not being able to write, but it's the feeling that a huge part of your identity is missing. If you are a writer and can't write, what are you then? If I put my hope and identity in Jesus and can't feel him right now, who am I now? Am I just a guy that tells corny jokes and makes videos? The whole purpose of me telling the jokes and making the videos is giving glory to God. People follow me on twitter for my jokes and I tweet jokes to entertain but also draw people in when I occasionally tweet about my faith or about a blog I post. I want to encourage my fellow Christians in their faith but also share my faith with others that don't have it. So again, what if I don't feel God? What is the point of all the jokes and the videos?
It's funny how writing a blog about this as a Christian will get you an email from a Christian that has obviously never read the Bible and tells you that "there are no dry seasons" or "hard times in the faith" or "dark nights of the soul". I've gotten a few emails about this and it makes me want to write all the more about this. To tell my brothers and sisters that there very much is these seasons in your faith. When you are told there isn't, you'll be devastated when they happen, you'll then question the very Gospel of whether or not God loves you. You'll lose your mind because you'll think that you've lost your faith.
I think we need to figure out what faith means. Faith isn't synonymous with belief, they are close but not quite. Now I'm no english major or scholar, but I'll just teach you how I've learned faith to mean in the context of all the times the Bible mentions faith that I can recall.
Belief is "An acceptance that a statement is true". Faith is a "complete trust". Belief accepts something as true until convinced otherwise. Faith is convinced something is true even when your emotions or feelings tell you otherwise. At least that is how I'm seeing it. But don't get me wrong, it's not blind trust, it's as C.S. Lewis says, "not letting your emotions do the convincing" (paraphrased) he continues to say, "faith isn't believing, it's reminding yourself of what you once believed when you were level-headed" (also paraphrased).
I always associate faith with a goal. When you have faith in a goal, you then work towards that goal. Faith is what makes a basketball player better, a scientist smarter or a violinist improve. Faith is belief in action. It's also a perseverance. Faith is reminding yourself that sometimes even no progress can be progress as long as you don't give up.
One building, that I was getting a tour of, mentioned that the stone that they used to build the building was made from what used to be a mountain a few hundred yards away. After years and years of breaking it down, moving it over, building it back up, then literally did 'move a mountain'. And they did so with their faith. Their faith told them each day "wake up, break down this mountain, move this stone, build this building". If they didn't believe they could, it would have stayed there.
Faith, I believe, isn't trying really hard to convince yourself of a statement that isn't true. But it's working towards a statement that you know can eventually be true. The people that approached Jesus weren't clenching their fists real tight working up the belief that Jesus would heal them, they believed enough to seek him, find him, approach him and ask him.
One person wrote me and asked me, "why do you follow God like you do". In all honesty, my answer was, "how could I not?". I've traveled all over this world, I'm doing exactly what I've wanted to do for a living since I was eight, I've got a great family, great friends, I can afford what I need, I've done my bucket list and had to make a new one which I'm almost done with, I have a fan base and supporters from around the world. And when it's all shaken down, the only thing that has brought me joy is God. I can never prove this to you, but nothing brings me joy like God and when I feel absent from God nothing rocks my world more.
When God is present, He doesn't feel as tangible, don't get me wrong, He does feel very much real to me, but when He is absent is when it's very real, I can feel it in my bones. It's like I missing something that I could reach out and grab at one point. It's like a car doesn't struggle or feel out of place when it has gas, but it knows that the gas is tangible when it's on empty.
In my years of 17-23 I learned apologetics, Atheism, figuring out why I believe there is a God and why that God might be the God of the Bible, learn about the big debates and questions, ask my own questions, questioned the existence of God or have been angry at God, I've had some very real, sometimes very long, seasons of doubt. I needed those, I think everyone does and I think eventually I may even have another. But in this season, I can't explain it, but I haven't the shadow of a doubt, God is incredibly real, I miss Him like I miss a real friend of mine. I'm not spending my time figuring out if He is real, but figuring out how I can spend more time with Him, feel His presence again.
I'm aware that unrepentant sin robs us of accepting God's forgiveness, therefore not allowing us to see Him for who He really is, as a forgiving God. But I'm also aware that sometimes you'll just have seasons like these, dark nights of the soul. David did, God let Job talk, pray and listen to his friend's bad advice for 37 chapters before He finally answered Him. Jesus let Thomas sit in the room scared for a week before He let him feel the holes in his hands. He is doing this to build our faith not just our belief.
I feel like a lady that had ten coins and lost one. So I tear apart the whole house looking for that coin and when I find it, I tell all my friends to celebrate.
What I love about that story, is that analogy is what Jesus says God is like when He loses one of us. It's refreshing to know that it's mutual and though I don't feel anything currently, it's good to know we are both looking for each other. He misses me more than I miss Him. So like a kid lost in Wal-Mart, I will sit here, crying out to Him, waiting for Him to find me again.