Recently, I struggled through a season of not feeling God’s presence. For days at a time I would cry out to him and feel nothing back. At times I was hopeless and started to wonder where God was and why he wasn’t answering me.
I felt discouraged and restless.
David describes something similar in Psalm 22.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.” (Psalm 22:1-2 NIV)
David questions where God is and even more why he has abandoned him. He is disturbed by the many obstacles in front of him and can only see how small he is without God. It is clear to him that without God, he will fail and even die.
Then the psalm takes a drastic shift. By verse 19, David makes the decision to praise.
David boldly praises God for the deliverance of his struggles and praises the character of God in full security that he is present and is who he says he is regardless of any shift in his circumstances. David speaks with God transparently and offers him every thought, concern and emotion. Yet even in his uncertainty he chooses to praise the Lord and manages to see how much bigger God is than what’s in front of him.
Miraculously, in the next Psalm, God reveals himself to David as the Good shepherd.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. “ (Psalm 23 NIV)
Jesus deeply desires to be our shepherd. When we allow him to take that role, we can walk securely in the fact that we lack nothing simply because we are his. He offers us rest and refreshment when we are in the heat of challenging circumstances, even when our souls are distrurbed within us and he feels silent and far away. He assures us that he will never leave us or forsake us in the midst of our pain or struggle. Rather he overwhelms us with goodness and peace as we rest in his love forever.
Looking back at my season of struggle, I can see so clearly now that God was never far from me. He was always present. Even though the days felt long and discouraging, on the other side of that season was a breakthrough: the realization that he was with me through every valley and that I too can praise him and be transparent with him, even when I don’t see the evidence of his movement.
Lord, I pray that every person reading this has an encounter with your love today that leaves their heart restored with the hope that you are who you say you are and that you always hear us, see us and are a good shepherd to us. I pray for a breakthrough in their faith and the courage to persevere even when they can’t feel you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- Have you walked through seasons where you felt that God was distant?
- What would breakthrough look like for you in this season?
Esther “Annie” Rhoades is a mom to three, wild and free kids and has been happily married to her best friend, Jon, for over 10 years. Annie values experience over things and loves yoga with worship music, diving into the word, hosting, thrifting, making healthy goodies, and traveling.