What if I Don’t Feel God and Don’t Know if I Ever Have?

Is God real? Is he actually involved in my life, or just out in the universe somewhere? Am I following God, or does this just feel right because it’s what I want to do?

These aren’t easy questions to ask. They are vulnerable, raw. They are scary to ask, because by asking them, we open up to the possibility that maybe we’ve made it all up. Could all the things we’ve attributed to God actually have another explanation?

I don’t mean to propose these as new questions to consider. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that these questions are very common. Especially so for people who grew up in the church and were surrounded by Christian culture.

I’ve asked these questions, and I’ve heard many people I love ask them, too. Sometimes the questions surface in different ways, such as: Where is God? Why is God so distant and silent? What do I actually believe compared to what I was taught to believe growing up? What is the point of going to church?

I certainly don’t have easy answers to these questions. But what I can do is provide a safe space here, and remind you it’s okay to be asking them. It’s okay to struggle with and doubt these things because in doing so, we are searching for truth.

Maybe as you search for truth, God will provide a miracle that wipes away all of your doubt. Maybe he’ll reveal himself to you in a tender, special way that assures you he sees you and is with you. I believe he can do that, and I pray he does.

But for most of us, the doubts and questions will return. They will nag on us and try to wear us out.

For most of us, the doubts and questions will return. They will nag on us and try to wear us out.

While it’s okay to have doubts, at some point we need stand up and make a decision. Either we are going to let the doubts and skepticism rule us, or we are going to shut them down and trust God is who he says he is.

“Do you not know?

   Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

   the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,

   and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary

   and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,

   and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord

   will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

   they will run and not grow weary,

   they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

Faith is Not Simple-Minded

This does not mean giving up your intellect and thoughtfulness to believe something simple. Rather, I encourage you to use your intellect to investigate who God says he is, how he relates to people in the Bible and what he says he will do.

Maybe the reason God seems distant or non-existent stems from your own misconceptions and expectations of who God is supposed to be.

If you made a decision to follow Jesus at some point, that is evidence of the Holy Spirit.

No matter the circumstances, whether it happened at church camp long ago or on your bathroom floor last week, if you’ve made a decision to follow Jesus–that’s evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in you. If a desire for Jesus led you to repent for your sin and ask forgiveness, that was God moving in your heart.

One of the promises of God I cling to most often is this: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

I cling to that promise because I see God’s faithfulness in my own story. There usually isn’t a neat time table, and usually things don’t come as expected, but God has always been faithful to me. He’s given me hope when I’m about to despair, and faith when doubt clouded my mind.

But when it comes down to it, for me, that is enough. I trust God’s presence and involvement in my life, even when I don’t feel it.

But when it comes down to it, for me, that is enough. I trust God’s presence and involvement in my life, even when I don’t feel it.

That is faith. Faith is given to us by God, through the Holy Spirit. So if at your core, you are drawn to God, but your mind is swirling with the turmoil of questions and doubts, rest in this: God is faithful and will tend that seed of faith in your heart. Practice trusting him.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Seasons of pain, joy, excitement and worry mark my story–just as they do yours. Each season brings with it a new nuanced understanding of God and my relationship to him. Some seasons bring out the skepticism in me, while others show the worshipper in me. Growth and increased faith don’t always follow immediately, but in time, I’m able to see God’s goodness and faithfulness to me.

“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;

   you make my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

   surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6)

God has good plans for me (and for you!). He loves me (and you!). He created me for a purpose (he has one for you, too!). He delights in me (he delights in you, too!).

Those thoughts sink deep into my heart. They steady me and give me rest. My only understanding for having that type of reaction is that it must be true.

Those thoughts sink deep into my heart. They steady me and give me rest. My only understanding for having that type of reaction is that it must be true.

When I’m in doubt and question God’s realness or goodness, my body mind and soul are restless. I am full of anxiety and easily depressed. And I know I’m not alone in these experiences.

If this resonates with you, I encourage you to trust God. Even in the doubt. Even when you feel lost. Those questions you have are prompts to search for truth. I pray that you search diligently, and that your search leads you to rest.

2017-09-17T21:57:28+00:00 Real Talk, Story Sharing|