I remember the time when I was taking medication to help me through a difficult emotional trauma. I was taken aback when I stood in church during worship and felt nothing. No emotion at all.
Normally, for me worship was amazing. I could feel the love of God resting heavily around me. My heart danced in His presence. But that day. Nothing. Empty. No feeling.
In that moment, I had a conversation with myself. I knew that God deserved my worship and praise. I realized that my feelings weren’t necessary in order for me to worship God. I could worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
So I did. I worshiped Him because He was God, not because it made me feel good. It was a sacrifice of praise to my God. After a time, I was able to discontinue the medication and now I have my ability to worship with my emotions.
The lesson I learned during that desert time helped me grow deeper in my knowledge of God and mature in my walk with Him.
Lately I’ve been having a similar experience. I feel the joy lift off of my heart and I see the world in its darkness. I see the God of the Old Testament in His Holiness and jealousy and demand for perfection. I experience the fear of the Lord.
I believe that God wants me to grow up into the fullness of Christ, weaning me away from constant dependence on good feelings. Maybe He is leading me into spiritual maturity and training me to stand no matter what I feel.
My faith is not dependent upon feelings, but on God’s unchanging nature and the Great love poured out for me through His Son, Jesus. Thankfully, His word is full of promise for us. “In His presence, the fullness of Joy” “Pleasures at His right hand forever” “The joy of the Lord is my strength”
When I was a teenager, I memorized this poem:
“I thank Thee, Lord
for pilgrim days,
when desert streams were dry.
When first I knew
what depths of need
Thy love could satisfy.”
It is in the desert that I learn of my need for Him and for that I will always love the desert.