I really enjoyed this lesson because it's one I lived through and I know that "the dark night of the soul" does end and God does eventually show up again. This lesson is "When God Seems Distant." It's about those dry times when you can't feel Him.
Its point is that faith is more important than feelings, and that God is there whether or not we can feel Him. The fact of His presence and the feeling of His presence are two different things and should not be confused.
When I went through this time a couple years ago after Kathi's rejection of me and my being booted from ExWitch, I made the classic beginner's mistake. As V. Raymond Edman said, "Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light." I doubted. I probably wouldn't be a Christian today if God hadn't stepped in and pulled me back from the edge. I gave the goddess a foothold, and got myself in so deep that I couldn't get back on my own.
I failed that test. When God drew me back to Him, I swore then that it would not happen again. I hope it does not, but I hesitate to say, "I will not fail," when I am not in a similar situation at the moment.
This Purpose Driven Life lesson makes the point that we don't grow during the good times; we grow in the valleys. It makes the point that in any relationship there are times of distance and this is true of our relationship with God as well. Our worship is the deepest when we trust Him despite our feelings of abandonment. Our trust in those times IS our worship. He will never leave us or forsake us. That is the promise. Our feelings can lie.
How do you get through these times?
1) Tell God how you feel - He can take anything you say.
2) Focus on God's unchanging nature.
3) Trust in God's promises, not your feelings.
4) Remember what He's already done by dying on the cross. Even if He never did another thing for you, He's worthy of your praise and worship for this alone.
This is an excellent reminder lesson for those who have been through the "dark night" before. If you haven't, study this lesson well for you will one day face it, and I pray that each and every person out there will not fail the test as I did. If you have already failed like I have, commit to passing the test the next time.
Thank You God for loving and dying for me. Help me to trust and follow You no matter what.
Technorati tagged: Bible, Bible study, God, Jesus, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren, 40 Days of Purpose, Saddleback Church