|Somewhere on the Penobscot River|
But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more... Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death... No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. ~ Romans 5: 20; 8:31-39
We have just read part of the first recorded dialogue between God and man. You probably know the setting--Adam and Eve sinned. In an instant, their disobedience dissolved the perfect union they had enjoyed with their Creator and separated them from Him spiritually. Their personal shame caused them to flee from God physically. They were naked--soul and body.
Mercifully, God provided a sacrifice for their physical nakedness to grace them with clothes. In so doing, He foreshadowed the sacrifice of His Son for our spiritual nakedness to clothe us with Grace. Sin could be covered. Fellowship restored.
This brings to mind something every Believer struggles with--a feeling of separation from God. Theologically, we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus. Yet still, we sometimes live with a sense that we are far from God.
Sometimes we are.
Sometimes we are not.
What should we do when it seems like God is nowhere, rather than now here? We can return to that first dialogue, and personalize those same two questions: Where am I... and what is this I have done? With the first question, we can locate ourselves spiritually. With the second question, we can be honest about our actions.
This is important. "And, why?" You might ask. First, because our feelings can definitely be an indicator that we are not walking in fellowship with God, and we have lost our way. The good news? Upon asking that question, we can turn back to God (repent), and be fully restored because of His abounding Grace. Also, by honestly asking that second question we can determine if the separation we feel is nothing more than that--feelings. Could it be that we are under a subtle attack by the original Tempter?
The Apostle Paul made it abundantly clear that there is an array of life-experiences the Evil One may cunningly manipulate. In so doing, he plots to create in us an unfounded sense that God has abandoned us. If we are not aware of his devices, we can be thrown into a downward-spiral of doubt, discouragement, and false-feelings of loneliness.
When such feelings creep in, a dialogue with God is the best first-response.