Read: Psalm 43:1-5
Consider: Can you identify with the psalmist when he feels that God has deserted him? In Psalm 43:2 we read: You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?
When times are good it is easier to feel the hand of God at work in our lives. However, when times get tougher we can easily miss the reassuring touch of God. Our minds can be so preoccupied with our problems, that this squeezes out any feelings of closeness to God that we might have. This should tell us that we cannot trust our feelings. Feelings can be deceptive and can cause us to doubt. We should rather put our trust in what it says about God in the Bible. Here are some verses that speak of God’s closeness:
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm34:18).
He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young (Isaiah 40:11).
A few verses that speak of the character of God:
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 faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).
You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you (Psalm 86:5).
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger for ever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has be removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:8-12).
Jesus himself said:
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
In times of doubt you should remind yourself of what it says about God in Scripture. You should take God at his word, trusting that he always has your best interests at heart. When you feel God is distant, use God’s word to speak into your situation. We all need to be constantly reminded that even if our feelings make us think God is distant, he is really very close. Does this remind you of the poem ‘Footprints’, the last verse of which is:
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings,
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you”.
Pray: Father, forgive us when we rely on our feelings rather than your Word. May we trust what is said about you in the Bible, knowing that you are ever close to us. Keep us mindful of the fact that Jesus promised to be with us always and that means at all times and in all circumstances. Amen