One of the Triad Confessional Statements concerning God’s Presence in one’s daily life is the hardest to find genuine: “I believe God is with me.”
In reality, the most popular statement concerning a believer’s perception of God’s presence in his or her life is an intermingling of the first two statements: “I don’t feel like God’s with me, but I know it.”
Now, keep this in mind as you read on ahead: I ain’t no pastor. I ain’t no professional theologian. I ain’t that wise. I ain’t that old. I’m just a regular 21 year old who loves to have conversations with other believers concerning their relationship with God and found this issue bothersome to me and others.
It’s absolutely heart-breaking to hear someone say those words written above (“I don’t feel like God’s with me, but I know it”). This is a complicated issue since some equate feeling and emotional assurance as true belief, whereas others equate it to knowing and rational assurance. While I do believe belief needs both (“feeling” expressed as profound and confounding peace and “knowing” as inexpressible confidence), it’s a tricky balance to find; something that would take a life-time to develop due to human’s changeable nature and the innumerable challenging and differing situations each goes through. New situations demands each believer to wrestle through this question: Where is God? Therefore, there is no such thing as a one time confession, but rather a daily and continual confession.
After a handful of deep talks with myself and others, I tend to land on this disturbing position: Is my feeling, knowing, and/or belief in God’s presence in my life dependent on me or on God? In other words, do I determine whether or not God is near me? I can’t help but see that sometimes when we say, “I don’t feel like God’s with me” it’s not that we have searched long and hard and was disappointed with the results, but rather we have closed our eyes, plugged our ears, and babbled lies to further cancel any noise except our own voice.
Furthermore, saying “…but I know it” tends to place empty faith on rationale with empty words. Is there any integrity between what you are confessing and what you know? Unless you have a different definition of “knowing.” “Knowing” is wholly engaging all human activity with truth; not just the brain. For example, an adult driving a car comes to a complete stop (hopefully) in front of a “Stop” sign and allows a car on the opposite side to take a left turn because she was there before him. The adult knows fully the proper rules of driving through Driver’s Ed. If he was to compartmentalize knowing to just abstract brain activity, then his foot would never have let go of the gas pedal to switch to the brakes.
How much of our feeling and/or knowing based statements are dependent on us or on God? Therefore, I would like to opt for the last and the most arduous statement: “I believe God is with me.” Again, it’s easy to confuse belief too much with either feeling or knowing. There needs to be a paradoxical balance between the two with God as the foundation. There is only one reason why we can believe God is near: God is near. It’s not fully because we feel God is near. Nor is it fully because we know God is near. We can only believe God is near because God is actually near.
Yet, how do we hold this claim? Trust. Trusting in God is wholly submitting all feelings and rationale to God. It is from this posture we began to truly feel and know. We feel not what we want to feel, but what we need to feel. Feelings of loneliness, abandonment, betrayal is inevitable. Same with doubt, confusion. But the solution is not receiving joy nor knowledge first. The solution is wholly dependent on God. What is require is wholly surrendering and trusting to and in God. Then comes profound peace. Then comes profound confidence. Peace from God. Confidence in God.
In this light, remember God’s grace and faithfulness is much more effective than perpetually wallowing in fear and doubt. He is calling you, he is reminding you, he is speaking to you, he is with you.