Yesterday a dear friend of mine wrote about feeling far away from God and in a low place spiritually. My heart went out to her as she explained her recent struggles. I know those struggles well and have been there many many times. There are days that I feel like I'm so close to God, yet others when He feels so far away. I began thinking about my own struggles as I read her entry. Why must one feel this way? Is there some reason behind feeling that God is far away. Then this question entered my mind: God seems far away, but where am I?
In reality God is anything but far away. Could it be that actually we are far away? Could it be that our hearts are so cluttered by the darkness of this world or our own personal darkness that we can't see or feel God?
I began searching the scriptures for some explaination at why we as Christians go through these dark times. My mind instantly went to Job. Most of us think about Job when we think of suffering and personal struggles, but do we really relate with Job? I mean, not many of us can say that everything we held dear to us has been taken away. Job had lost all his children, servants, livestock and his health. He had everything and then had nothing within a very short period of time. The only thing God allowed him to keep was a nagging and doubting wife and a few friends who didn't understand what he was going through. We may have not suffered on the same level as Job, but we are human just as he was. We struggle with some of the same feelings he had: grief, anger, confusion and frustration.
So let's look at Job 23:9-11 (NKJV)
9 When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
10 But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
11 My foot has held fast to His steps;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
In this passage, Job was questioning God's whereabouts. Job couldn't understand why God seemed to be so far away. But what I notice most about this passage is that God was working on Job the whole time, yet Job couldn't see God. If you look at this scripture in the Message version, it shows Job's anger with God. Yet in the end, Job had to honor God and not turn from Him. He knew that God would bring him from this extreme low; an extreme low He even called deep darkness later on in the chapter.
Let's go on and look at 1Peter 1:6-8 (NKJV)
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
God is looking for a genuine faith. These low times, times of testing and "various trials" are needed to improve our faith; just like fire is needed to purify gold. Rest assured when you go through these lows that God is proving you. As difficult and frustrating as it may be, God is leading you through this so that he can deepen your faith and trust in Him. I hope you can find some comfort in these scriptures. I believe that God spoke to my heart as well through them.
On a side note.....
Jeremiah 23:29 (NKJV)
29 “ Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD,
“ And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
I also found this scripture as I was reading last night. In my deepest darkest times, I feel like my heart grows hard, much like the rock mentioned in this verse. The answer to breaking through that rock.....the fire of the Word ! How awesome is that !