I know it seems insanely simple… yet somehow I forget that there’s a cycle, a rhythm to it.
But God is there when you don’t feel Him.
Let’s go back in time a bit. The scene is Egypt. God’s people, the Israelites, have been slaves for generations. It seems as though God is out to lunch. His very own people are doing menial slave work. But God finds Moses, an Israelite, in the desert and has a different message.
“I know, I see, I care. It hurts me when my people suffer. I have a rescue plan.”
This is very different than “out to lunch”.
Every human I know, Jesus included, has felt at some point that God left. It’s part of the human experience. Sometimes —perhaps most of the time — this happens right when you wanted to feel Him most.
If God is the one pulling the strings behind the universe, why does He seem so aloof at times?
It’s a massive question, but here's what I know: powerful things happen when we don’t feel God. In fact, the most significant thing a human ever did — save the world — was done under the banner “why have you forsaken me?” Scholars debate what Jesus meant when He said that, but at a minimum Jesus didn’t mean “God, you feel so warm and close right now.”
It’s a tension we must deal with. If we’re savvy Christians we’re ready for these moments. We recognize that life, being human, comes with an uncomfortable cycle (depicted above). We feel God. We sense what’s true with every part of our being. Then we feel as though none of it is real. God left us and we don’t know when He is coming back. No one avoids this.
I wish the cycle was something like this: God tells you something beautiful and you feel His presence. You eat a piece of chocolate cake. Repeat.
But it isn’t.
I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve observed that God does some of His best work when we don’t feel Him. I doesn’t mean He’s gone. It doesn’t mean He's stopped working. To the contrary, He’s probably up to something beautiful.
If you're a rockstar in might look something like this:
Jesus, thanks for being a great example of the fact that suffering is real but so is the victory of resurrection. Today I am making some space to remember this. Amen.