I have always been fascinated by the stars, I have found unrivaled beauty in sunsets and sunrises, and I have marveled at the way that God reveals Himself in nature. However, at times, it is just hard to sense His presence. I know that He is there, but I can’t feel that He is there. I am not able to see His beauty as clearly at these times as I have at other times.
And that hurts.
It hurts because when I can’t sense His presence, I feel alone. I feel like darkness will swallow me up, and I will drown. I feel as if I am being pushed down, back under the waters that I have fought so hard to escape. Sometimes, I fear that I will remain this person, that I will remain unchanged by what God brings into my life, and I will keep falling short of what He wants me to be.
What I have come to realize is that, feelings lie. If His Word is true, then it doesn’t matter if I can feel His presence or not. He is there, to be sure. Not just there, but ever present. God with us, Immanuel. It isn’t as if He is just watching us go about our day and approving or disapproving each circumstance that comes into our lives. He lives it with us, as if it were His own, because it is! According to Deuteronomy 31:6, “…the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” If that is true, then what I feel must be a lie.
A lie that I may have just wasted a lot of time believing, instead of believing the Words of our One True King. Silly me. What was I thinking? If I had faith even as small as a mustard seed….
I always thought faith was believing without seeing. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Is this where we got the definition of faith as believing in something even though we cannot see it? Assurance is having confidence or certainty about something or someone. Well, I have never really needed to see to believe. However, I have always had a strong sense of God’s presence, so I never needed to “see” anything. It seemed easy to have faith even when going through great trials and suffering, because I could feel His presence comforting me. Now, I am not saying that the trials were easy. It hurt just as much, but having faith in our Creator seemed easy because I could feel Him.
But what about when, for whatever reason, He withdraws His presence, and we cannot be comforted? Does He cease to exist? The scripture in Hebrews doesn’t exactly say that faith is simply believing without seeing. It says also that “faith is confidence in what we hope for.” Does the confidence in what we hope for disappear just because our feelings betray us?
Google’s definition of faith is this and Webster’s dictionary is similarly worded: “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”
We see that this is fairly accurate when we read the rest of Hebrews 11, which recounts the faith of our Biblical ancestors. Abel’s offering, and Enoch’s earnest in seeking God and subsequently being taken from this world without having experienced death. Abraham’s leaving his home to go to the place that God called him to go, and Sarah bearing children in her old age, followed by Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son Isaac. Then the faith of Isaac, Jacob, Esau, and Joseph. Moses, and all the people of Israel. The battle at Jericho, and Rahab the prostitute. The list goes on and on. Verses 32 through 38 tell all about the other faithful ones, the miracles they experienced, and also the persecution, torture, and mistreatment they received for their faith. What was it about these people that was so important regarding faith? How come Moses and the people of Israel could step out into the Red Sea onto dry land, but as soon as the Egyptians did, they were covered with water and drowned?
We can have faith in God, whether we can see His power or not, because we give our lives to Him with our whole hearts. It was said of Enoch in verses 5-6:
“For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
The Egyptians saw God’s power, and yet they were drowned in the Red Sea. Having faith also means that we earnestly seek Him, not just that we believe He exists without having seen that He does.
These people trusted God completely with their lives, and had the confidence that what they hoped for in God’s will would come to fruition. They didn’t just believe without seeing. For one thing, God did some amazing things in their lives that showed His power. Even more importantly, they gave their lives to Him, even when it hurt. They sought Him, earnestly.
But get this:
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
At the end of Hebrews we find that these people were still seen as having great faith, even though in this life they never came to experience what was promised to them.
God is still alive and well, and we can trust that he does exist even though at times we cannot see Him or feel Him. What if I get that, but I still ask myself: Does He still care about us? Does He still work out His best for us, even though it doesn’t feel like it?
It’s right there in black and white, people. “…since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” He does care about us, and He does still work out what is best for us, even though we don’t always feel like that is true.
Feelings lie. But God’s Word is true. We just need to make the choice of which to believe: the lie, or the truth?
Today, I choose truth, even though I can’t always “see.” Mustard seeds. I pray for faith even that small.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “What does all this have to do with Jack Frost?”
Well, nothing, really. Except that sometimes, when your night is so long and all you have been able to see is darkness, it doesn’t hurt to notice the beauty of the light shining through the cold frost on your window.
Praying that you may see beauty in the little things,