Today feels a bit like the day after a thunderstorm. The last 48 hours have been chaotic and emotionally draining. And although the sun has risen upon a new day with new possibilities, the smell of ozone lingers and the leaves are awash in the streets.
I feel the exact opposite of excited to tackle the day.
I definitely feel like I’m falling.
The emotional lows that come with spiritual growth can be soul-crushing. Our inability to see past our current situation can make it feel like God has forgotten us. We may be tempted to opt out of doing the very things that God has perhaps called us to do. We may also want to indict God, because honestly, if He is the King of the Universe, and controls all things why is he making me suffer like this?
In moments of emotional pain, that seems to exist with no reason, it can feel much easier to reject God wholesale in order to turn to the things that will comfort us in the short run. Those things can be food, unhealthy relationships, pornography, drugs, or other band-aids that will distract you from the waves of pain that seem to wash upon your heart with no end in sight.
If you can..
I’d highly recommend you hold tight before you make any decisions that won’t serve you. Instead, I’d ask you to stay engaged with God.
Be angry with God, but talk to Him.
Curse him if you must, break down and ask Him about his absence.
The Psalms are full of this exact situation where the pain of life can seem to separate us from our faith in Christ. Where believing in the God of angel armies feels like the flimsy hope of an immature child. Psalm 77 is one of these psalms. It perfectly reflects the thoughts that accompany the pain of times when God seems to have put up an “out of office” sign.
“I cry out to God; yes I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven but my soul was not comforted. I think of God and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help.-Psalm 77:1-3
I was recently in one of these spells and, while I failed at a lot, I can share a couple things that I did right:
- Stayed connected with the body of Believers
- Kept talking to God, even if it was mostly about my pain and his [perceived] absence
In the spirit of transparency I did a lot more wrong than right. I let my emotions and need for control run wild and didn’t discipline myself to spend more time with him during my morning devotional time. In fact, I was so fed, I was only able write a couple of words. In fact the first sentence I wrote in my journal was: “Lord, where are you. How could this happen?”
Psalm 77 gives some insight into a tactic that I didn’t use but that we should when were in these tunnels of darkness.
“And I said, ‘This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” but then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.”Psalm 77: 10-12
The writer of this psalm, although they were in the midst of deep pain, chose to double down on remembering how good God had been to them in the past. This gave him the strength to continue on, even if things seems particularly dark. This is something that I’m going to try to remember during my next trial in the hopes that my faith muscle will remember how I feel now, after I’ve come out of the darkness and feel 1000% better about God’s faithfulness.
Also, honestly, after I’ve come out of a storm and can see clearly again that God did not forsake me but that I was just throwing a tantrum or couldn’t see the benefits of the situation at the moment, I feel so embarrassed.
I feel almost ashamed at my lack of faith, but then I have to remind myself that I’m not alone, and that believers through the generations have endured the same feelings as God works out the immaturity that can be found in us all. Praying for your strength and remembrance of God’s goodness.