How do I keep faith when I feel like giving up, and don’t “feel” God anymore?
Does just this title ring a bell with you? Are you in a place where you feel like giving up, like you just can’t keep faith anymore because things are too hard, and it doesn’t seem like you “feel God” anymore? Then this is the article for you. Don’t fret, my friend, many have been there, and many will go in the future, but there are core beliefs and practices, and Word from the Bible, to be mindful of and consider. God will never leave you nor forsake you, even if you can’t see it just yet. That is what I will address here.
Stop right now and try to remember a moment where you felt God was as close to you as He has ever been in your life. Perhaps it was a moment or series of events that happened or you looked back on and realized only God got you through that. It might have been emotional, physical, or you may have even felt like you heard from Him from a mental cue or “voice in your head”, or maybe it was even something you read in the Bible that really spoke to your current life and situation, or maybe at your church you heard a sermon that sounded like the preacher was picking on just you. Somehow or another, you have felt God’s intervention in your life, and now you’re wondering why you can’t feel that anymore.
Personally, I still have many moments where I know, without a doubt, that I am feeling the guidance, grace, love, and peace of God. Sometimes I may be in a temporarily aggravating moment, and I often simply just think back to where God pulled me from, and look around at my life that is full of His love and protection, and I’m instantly grounded and realize I’m being selfish. The point is, it’s OK to have a bad day, just find your way back to God. Really bad things happen to people, and it often can be hard to “feel God” in those moments, such as car accidents, unexpected and general bills, funerals, house issues such as plumbing problems, car trouble, natural disaster that harms you or your property and otherwise makes normal life extra hard - a whole slew of things can cloud your mind and “vision”.
So, that begs the question, should we always have an undeniable awareness of God in our life? More so, is life supposed to be a constant pursuit of happiness through holy moments? I think loving God and serving Him has a lot more to do with this verse from Micah:
Micah 6:8 (ESV): He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
So, what do you do? Here are a few core suggestions:
1 - Decide what you believe and be real about where you are right now
I am going to assume that if you are here reading this, you have some belief in God. And God asks for faith in Him without the needing the actual scientific proof of how He exists (though inferences based on proven Laws of the Universe, and more, can prove His existence, it shouldn’t be necessary for you to believe. Check out my articles Our Father Parts 1-3, “God’s Not Dead - Proof of a Personal Creator” for a deeper dive on this matter here HERE).
Take, for instance, that we actually don’t have absolute proof of quantum physics or even gravity, but we have a fairly advanced scientific knowledge of how the world works, and bridge the gap with some faith. You have to decide if this is something you want to do, and believing in God without a shadow of doubt and without pure scientific proof is the deepest decision you will ever make. You have to believe and understand that God is real.
Recall the story of Job, or better yet, read it again. Job was honest about where he was and trusted that God was big enough to deal with his situation. Job felt lonely, hopeless, and even anger towards God, but he still trusted Him. If you’re hurting today, be real about how you’re feeling and where you are, and pray as such. Time and time again we read in the Bible that “so and so” CRIED OUT to the Lord:
Exodus 8:12–13 (KJV): And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields.
2 - Remember your past and where He already pulled you from
Don’t forget where God pulled you out of already.
Sometimes just taking a step back and looking at our life around us and what we DO have can quickly ground us when we are upset about something. Think about the things that used to upset you and how they aren’t problems anymore.
Next time you are feeling down and miss God, trying doing something you might imagine God would do to help someone else. God cares for the sick, visits the lonely, frees the oppressed, gives irrationally, and creates imaginatively. Sometimes just blessing another person can re-align you, so to speak.
3 - Read the Word, reflect on it, and apply it to your life
Matthew 28:20 (ESV): teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Just reading that brings a warm, fuzzy feeling inside of me. God literally promised us that He is with us until the end.
We should always remember that the Word is there for us. Sometimes it is easy to forget that just reading and studying the Word, and connecting it to your life and your situation, works wonders and shows you the way out. It’s also easy to forget when you feel like you’ve studied the Bible through and through already.
As we read through the Word, it is not hard to find passages about people going through hard times and very difficult situations. These situations are very the same problems many face today.
Remember how Abraham waited 25 years to see God’s promise of a child fulfilled?
How about when Paul was beaten and imprisoned for preaching the Word of God?
Or how about the mistakes Moses made in Exodus (he killed an Egyptian man and tried to hide his body, and also struck a rock when God commanded he speak to it instead, among other things)? Moses thought God left him for 40 years after that until appearing in a burning bush.
And what about Hannah from 1st Book of Samuel? She desperately longed for just 1 child of her own and had faith that God would open her womb so that she could, all the while she lived in the same house as her husband and his apparent “side girl” or girlfriend, side chick, whatever you want to call it, and watch her have multiple babies for him, until she finally bore Samuel. I actually can't imagine that happening today aside from the rare people that still practice polygamy (having more than one wife or husband at a time).
As we read this stories, it becomes evident that everyone struggles and has issues. Everyone has made mistakes and gotten themselves in muddy water, so to speak. The point is, though, that God ALWAYS comes through and fulfills your need. You are not alone. Others have been through “hell and back”. Remember what Peter told us:
1 Peter 5:9 (ESV): Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
Always remember that God is in control. I loved reading the Book of Job, and one of my favorite things about it is that it teaches us that no matter how things appear, God is in complete control. Look at Job 23:10 - after spending the prior 9 verses complaining about how he can’t find God, Job seems to catch his head and realize that God knows the way that he should and will take, and once he is done with his current trials, he will come out better than before. If we can be like that and think like that, (the latter part! I certainly would avoid complaining about God!) it would go a long way to help us through our daily struggles.
All in all, I obviously don’t know what you are facing today, but have faith. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. You will get through whatever it is you are going through. Read the Bible and study it. Apply the Word to your life and the commands from God within it. Pray. Go to church (and find a home church if you haven’t yet and become a member). Things will get better. God is always with you and won’t let you down!