We’ve all had seasons where God seems distant, or even altogether not there. But the Bible tells us that isn’t true. The Bible promises that He is a God that never leaves us or forsakes us. Yet the question remains, why can’t we always feel His presence? And why are some seasons virtually unbearable at His seeming absence?
Join Pastor Steven Furtick, founder and leader of Elevation Church, as he pours out some life-giving wisdom on the topic.
“I do think that the low times [where] you don’t feel God become the tools that enable you to appreciate the moments when you can,” Furtick begins. He further emphasizes that the times when we can feel God’s presence and the times when we can’t are in theory two sides to a coin—two elements working together. “I look at them like weight and counter-weight, gas and brake. I need both to drive the car.”
“And I think sometimes God uses the times when I don’t feel Him to slow me down so I don’t go into foolishness and think it’s fate. I think He sobers me and humbles me.”
Furtick further highlights that as Christians we shouldn’t be afraid of the darkness that hovers in soul when God feels far away. “Remember that the women went to check on Jesus while it was still dark,” he says. “Darkness is not always a bad thing. There is a kind of darkness, or even a type of sadness or feeling low, that you don’t run from. There’s a type that you walk through, that leads you to a greater light.”
“Here’s one thing else I would tell you: almost welcome it,” Furtick challenges. “Almost welcome that feeling that God has left me.”
“The reason I say that…the greatest proof of the power of God was when Jesus wasn’t there.” What Furtick is trying to say is that at the resurrection, when the women went to check on Jesus, the proof of God’s power was in the fact that Jesus wasn’t there because He had risen. “The proof of God’s power was in what was missing, not what was there.”
“Do you understand the power of that,” he asks referencing the power of God that still shines through no matter what is physically missing in any given moment, day or season.
Furtick goes on to highlight Paul’s comments in 2 Corinthians 12:7: “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”
“Torment, reverse the syllables” and what do you get? Mentor.
Furtick highlights, “[Paul] said, the thing kept me grounded, it kept me humble and the reason I had to have it is because I saw things in certain moments about God that if I did not have a thorn I would have gotten so lost in myself I would have lost sight of God, so that’s why you welcome it.”
A profound point we each, no matter our age or trial, would be wise to meditate on and welcome.