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How to Feel God's Presence When You're Down

Praying man

Is God really faithful? Is He going to take care of us? Does He love us? What do I do when my feelings tell me that God is not intimately involved in my life today? Or when the early-morning-crazies make me feel like I don't want to face another day? Or when well-deserved mommy-guilt makes me feel like I'd better get my act together if I want God to keep up His end of the bargain? What do I do when my feelings question God's faithfulness and dismantle my doctrine? I preach God's word to my feelings.

The fight for "feeling" is a fight for faith. Our feelings betray us, and our hormones deceive us, and our emotions doubt and drift from truth, so we recount to our feelings the promises of God and choose to believe His word rather than trusting our hearts' doubts and fears.

God IS faithful, and here are three truths to hold on to when you wake up tomorrow and need to be reminded that He really is faithful.

  1. God is with me.In Isaiah 43:5, God says, "Fear not, for I am with you." That refrain is echoed throughout Scripture, and Jesus affirms it again in Hebrews 13:5, "...I will never leave you nor forsake you," as He goes on to remind us a few verses later that He is the same yesterday and today and forever (13:8).And so, I tell my feelings, "You may not FEEL God today — your hormones or lack of sleep or loneliness may eat at you and distort your feelings away from reality. But God promises that He is with you and that HE never changes, even if your feelings belie His presence."
  2. God has supplied me with all the mercies I need for this day.By definition, mercy is when one shows compassion to another when it is undeserved. When does God's mercy shine brightest? His mercy is most at work in seasons of difficulty and sorrow. Central to the message of Lamentations, a book of grief, loss, and shame, is the bright hope that reflects most beautifully against the backdrop of lament: "But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'"Every morning presents new opportunities for God to demonstrate His faithfulness as He lavishes His love and mercy upon us. Regardless of how stressed and anxious we are, we preach to our wandering hearts that God is faithful. We believe God's word rather than believe our hearts.
  3. God forgives my sin.Rather than preaching to my feelings of shame that I AM a good-enough mom, and rather than reasoning with my guilt that my friend probably didn't pick up on that careless, critical comment that I made when I was frustrated and dissatisfied last week, I preach to my feelings the gospel. I remind my feelings of the glorious, awe-worthy truth that I am a sinner, that God sent His Son to bear the guilt and punishment for my sin, and that when I confess my sin to Him, I have an Advocate that pleads my case before the Judge. That Advocate points to His own righteous life and atoning death as reason for God the Father to forgive my sins, and every.single.time — every misstep, every careless word, every idle moment, every foolish decision, every time I didn't treasure Jesus more than anything else in this world — God looks upon me with favor because the sacrifice of His Son has absorbed the punishment for it all. (1 John 1:7-2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

I had lunch with a dear friend this week. She is over 30 years my senior, and she told me that it is a wonderful thing to be a Christian for a long time, because you have seen the faithfulness of God upon the faithfulness of God, faithfulness upon faithfulness, year after year, decade after decade, and it changes you. I see how my friend rests in the faithfulness of God, and I am so grateful for her testimony to His word. We preach God's word to our feelings rather than interpreting our circumstances according to our feelings, and we will wake up tomorrow morning and every morning to a faithful God who is with us, who lavishes us with mercy, and who delights to cleanse us from sin and embrace us in the Beloved, His Son Jesus Christ.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father.
 There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
 Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;
 As Thou has been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
 Morning by morning new mercies I see;
 All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
 Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
 Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,
 Join with all nature in manifold witness,
 To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace endureth,
 Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
 Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
 Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Amanda is married to husband Jody and mom to 2 little ones. Her hope is to encourage other women to see the beauty of Christ in His word so that we will learn to rest in the gospel in our daily lives. Find her online at


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