“Then they believed His words and sang His praise. But soon they forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel” Psalm 106:12-13.
Sometimes I feel it. I get into it- the sense that God is moving. That answered prayer, the inner peace that all is well, right, and good with my soul, the anticipation of what’s next- it emboldens my faith. Sometimes. Then there are the other times when God seems silent, distant, disinterested, and my faith wanes. I get distracted. If I don’t feel God move then I move on. I throw myself into idle recreation, self-protectiveness, and feel-good, girl power, pseudo-spiritual self-help books written by authors who went to church once. I become antsy. “God, where are you? Why don’t I feel you?” I grow impatient. Christian fellowship seems fake, not authentic enough. Preaching bores me. It doesn’t address my feelings. I just want to feel. Something. Anything. So I move on. I stop coming around. Sin doesn’t really seem like a big deal anymore. Prayer is a memory. I forget the works and words of God, and the Bible doesn’t make me feel the way that song, that book, that cup of coffee with a friend makes me feel. Antsy turns to apathy, and God is like a stranger to me. I blame the church, my childhood youth group, and right-wing fundamentalists. I blame the hypocrites. I blame the Christian sub-culture. I blame God. He let me down. It is His fault, really.
But is it? Gripping anything other than the Word of God for hope is like grasping the air. The truth really does set us free if we’ll let it. Feeling is not believing- seeing is. We see not with our eyes, though, but with our hearts- broken hearts that are made new by the gospel of grace. This is how our faith grows. Experience helps, yes, but grounding ourselves in God’s Word is what keeps our faith secure.
Psalm 106:12-13 serves as a warning for us. When God moves, we sing praise and shout “Amen!” But time passes, and the ordinary, everyday walking with Jesus seems mundane, and that time when God came through becomes a distant memory. And then we forget God. We break fellowship with His people. We live for the kingdom of this world rather than the Kingdom of God. It is called apathy. Israel experienced this. It led to outright rebellion and the generation that saw God move “despised the pleasant land, having no faith in His promise” (Psalm 106:24).
I don’t want to have a fickle faith. I don’t want my best days with Jesus on this side of heaven to be behind me. Even if I don’t “feel” Him or see Him move or understand what He is doing, I want to:
Believe HIS words
Remember HIS works
Wait for HIS counsel.
This will set me free. This will set us all free. And faith will then not be dependent upon feelings but on the promises of God’s Word. Because after all, it is upon these promises we first believed. Let’s continually walk in them in faithful freedom.