Have you ever heard someone say, “I know God is in my heart, I just don’t feel His presence?” Many people today have these same thoughts. They not only have worries of government and world crisis but trouble with personal problems and setbacks as well. Worry and fear are the opposite of faith and any number of unrepentant sins can make us wander away from God.
It’s all about relationship. Personal problems are the hardest because they hit closest to home. There was a time when I couldn’t feel God’s presence either. It was a black time in my life.
Quite a few years ago, as my wife and I were working at keeping our marriage together, I’d developed a bad attitude toward her. I was hurt because I felt she didn’t appreciate or need me enough. As I struggled with the sulking, aloofness, and the pity-party of my childish persona, I quickly developed the spirit of un-forgiveness.
It is difficult at best to explain the feeling that I had during that time of my life. However, it felt as if my blood had drained from me. It was total emptiness, despair, and nausea. I did not feel any hope within me. I didn’t care whether the sun rose or fell. It was the ugliest and blackest feeling that I have ever experienced.
The spirit of un-forgiveness had me so immersed in its sin that I felt far away from God. I thought that He was the one who’d given up on me because of my attitude toward my wife. Everything that God was to me, I now felt was gone – assurance, encouragement, approval, support, love, I couldn’t feel any of it. The wages of sin is death and I felt like I was dying inside.
I struggled with myself a couple of days and finally concluded that the reason for my pity-party was because I didn’t get my own way. I only knew I didn’t want to feel like this anymore. I missed the Lord’s presence.
The Lord was not the one who pulled away or hid Himself from me but my guilt had made me pull away from God. It was my fault that I felt condemned. His Word says that He will never leave or forsake us. I was lost and didn’t know what to do. In desperation, I finally called out to God, “Lord, where are you, I need you.”
God, in His infinite wisdom brought 1 Peter 3:7 to my attention, which declares, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” I immediately realized in my spirit what I needed to do.
I went to my wife to ask for forgiveness of my attitude toward her. The second that I asked for her forgiveness, God immediately restored my life and my health. If I were to speak for God, I’d say to me, “It sure took you long enough.” Instead, I felt that warm presence ooze over me and engulf me as I felt His voice in the pit of my stomach saying, “I’m proud of you son.” For a season, I had forgotten that forgiveness was, and still is, the basis of our faith. I never want that black empty feeling again.
Because God chastises those He loves, I believe that the Lord allowed this to happen to me so that I would know what it was like not to have Him around. He never causes bad things to happen but He allows certain things to teach us.
I thank the Lord every day for allowing me my hissy fit, because it ultimately brought me closer to Him. My daily prayer now is Psalms 51:2, 11, which says, “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.”
My lack of forgiveness and guilt put me so deep in that I had nowhere to go but up, up to Jesus. This was His plan all along, to look up to Jesus. Guilt and un-forgiveness are dangerous spirits and can destroy us if we allow them so take it from me, don’t let them get a foothold.
I leave you with Romans 8:38, 39 KJV
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.