God is real, no matter how you feel. It is easy to worship God when things are going great in your life. But the circumstances are not always pleasant. How do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away? The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during trial, loving him even when He seems distant.
Friendships are always tested by separation and silence; you are divided by physical distance or you are unable to talk. In your friendship with God, you won’t always feel close to him. To mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation- times when it feels as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. According to A.W. Tozer, he called it “the ministry of the night”. Besides Jesus, David probably had the closest friendship with God of anyone. Yet David frequently in psalms complained of God’s apparent absence. Of course, God hadn’t really left David, and He doesn’t leave you. He has promised repeatedly that he will never leave you or forsake you. But if the truth must be told, God has never promised: “you will always feel my presence”.
There are times when God appears to be MIA, missing in action, in your life. These are times when you wake up and all your spiritual feelings are gone. You pray and nothing happens, you rebuke the devil yet nothing changes. You have friends pray for you and confess all manner of sin you can remember, yet nothing happens. In utter desperation, you cry out, “What is wrong with me?” The truth is, there is nothing wrong with you! This is a normal maturing of your friendship with God where you walk pass the level of feeling to complete faith in the integrity of His word.
Every Christian goes through it at least once and usually several times. It is painful and disconcerting, but it’s absolutely vital for the development of your faith. You need to move from the sense realm to the Spirit and faith realm.
When God seems distant, you may feel He is angry with you or disciplining you for some sin. In fact, sin disconnects us from intimate fellowship with God. We grieve God’s Spirit and quench our fellowship with him. But often times, this feeling of abandonment has nothing to do with sin. It is a test of faith- one we all must face. Will you continue to love, trust and obey and worship him even when you have no sense of his presence or visible evidence of his work in your life?
The most common mistake Christians make in worship today is seeking experience rather than seeking God. They look for a feeling, and when that happens, they conclude that they have worshiped God. Wrong! Seeking a feeling, even the feeling of closeness to Christ, is not worship. I urge you to stay faithful to God even when you don’t feel him, because worshiping God has nothing to do with how you feel.