The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of The Georgia Virtue.
By: Dr. William F. Holland Jr., minister, chaplain, and author of the column series ‘Living on Purpose’. You can read more about the Christian life and see other works by Dr. Holland at billyhollandministries.com.
For those who try to live for the Lord and want to please Him, I’m sure you know what I mean when I say there are times when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. When it comes to maintaining a red-hot enthusiasm for the Christian life, we are not robots, but rather we are emotional humans that have good days along with other times that are clouded with with feelings of melancholy. It does the heart good to quietly sit alone as we search within our soul trying to figure out what is wrong. It could be a nagging sin where we should have stood strong against it but instead we gave it control. God promises that in the midst of our misery there is nothing we can do that will make Him love us any less. Or maybe our hearts are weighed down with heaviness for a world that has turned away from God. Whatever our burden, we can rest assured that He knows our thoughts and exactly what we are going through. Romans 8:39 is a wonderful reminder, “Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The gospel is often called the good news and rightly so as there is nowhere in this world that God cannot hear our cries or feel the weight of our worries. There is no point in our lives where He turns away from us or sees us as undeserving or unworthy of His love. So today, if you are having difficulty sensing His presence and feel like you are drifting on an open sea, God wants you to know that He has never left your side. There is strength, confidence, and hope in His name as He is waiting to lead you into the healing light of His glorious presence. II Samuel 22:3-4 declares, “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” The Lord promises that we can always run to Him when we are afraid and anxious, when we are having health issues, confused or sad, or overwhelmed with discouragement. Wherever you are, He is always there to protect and comfort you.
As I sit here seeking God’s guidance, I just received a text from a dear friend asking for prayer. He said he is struggling with a sense that he has been abandoned by God. I’m sure you will agree it’s not a coincidence that I would be writing about the very thing that he just contacted me about. It hurts me to see others discouraged as we are living in difficult times but there will be seasons when we are convinced He is not concerned about what we are going through. This happens to all of us because our emotions namely what we see, hear, and feel are so strong, however, these natural feelings can be misleading and often prove that things are not always the way they seem. Divine truth is found in the spiritual realm with God and is based on His nature and character which is an extension of what He has promised in His Word. “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:6,8).
The desert is a hot and dry environment and we read in the Bible that many of God’s people including Jesus Himself spent some agonizing times there. But let us remember that for whatever reason we may go through these wilderness experiences, God is not only with us every step of the way, but He also promises after a certain amount of time to lead us back into the cool refreshing waters of His joy, peace, and restoration. Ask Jesus to forgive and cleanse your heart, trust in His endless grace, and as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, you will find yourself back in His everlasting arms of love.