What happens when you lose the fire and it’s starting to feel like there’s no hope? I’ve always been in love with Jesus but right now, I’m feeling hopeless and want to quit everything and just run away from all my problems. How do I regain the fire for God again?
Dear beloved friend,
Very often in church we never learn that the Christian life eventually runs into dry seasons, low valleys, and long periods of silence and stagnation. It’s not really the church’s fault and it’s not your own: because almost everyone is afraid to talk about it, like it’s an unforgivable sin to admit you feel far from God.
So we learn the Christianese code words of plastic smiles and quick handshakes and I’m-fine and That’s-in-my-past and Things-are-tough-but-praise-God — when every night at 3am you look at the ceiling fan wondering if this is all just a crazy ridiculous lie.
But you are closer to the truth than you think. You’re quickly learning the Big Christian Secret —
That every Christian struggles, every person doubts, and we all wonder if we’re just kidding ourselves.
Every — Christian — Ever.
This is really the entire point of my blog. So I have one simple word for you. Ready?
— Relax. — Breathe out. It’s okay. You’re in a valley, but hang tight, because God is still there, He loves you, and He’s still rooting for you.
There are very few times in life where you’ll actually be so close to God that you feel Him. We expect more of that mountaintop-feeling all the time, and when it doesn’t happen, we feel disillusionment and disappointment — as if something is wrong with us. But friend: it’s not you. It’s the absurd spiritual parameters of the church culture.
Sure, there are some on-fire Christians who burn longer than others, but for the most part, many of us begin to be overwhelmed by daily demands, deadlines, and distractions that drive us crazy.
In your valley-moments, that’s when you hold onto the reality of God who was present in your life on the mountaintop only moments ago. Cherish those times when you knew with absolute certainty that God was real. Remember God’s constant encouragement: It was I, the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery.
It’ll be a lot like a marriage. The beginning has so much fire and chemistry, but as you persevere forward, it becomes a slow-burning love that is ocean-deep and leaves behind the shallowness of emotionalism and first impressions. Yes, you’ll have those moments of fire again, but they are not what we live for. Your marriage — and relationship with God — will gain a richer value over the trials you face together.
I had never heard this in church before. But Peter himself wrote about it. In 2 Peter 1, he writes —
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 … the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
Peter says we were eyewitnesses … we heard this voice … we were with him on the sacred mountain.
Peter harkens back to the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountaintop, when the Son of God revealed himself in full glory as he really is. Peter never forgot this. Jesus peeled back his own layer of flesh on that summit in between the cradle and the crucifixion — and Peter never tried to “duplicate” that moment. He had a taste of Jesus that would last him for a lifetime.
Moses and the Israelites saw this giant ocean splitting in half and God continually reminded them. Every major character in the Bible — including you — could always recall those pivotal moments when God showed up, showed off His Glory, and made His presence undeniable.
You’ll have those few mountaintop moments in your life. At a retreat, on a Sunday, at your parents’ deathbed, in the hospital, in a conversation, during prayer, or simply on a long drive. Not everyday will be a pumped-up, super-charged, blowing-up rock show. But everyday you will have Jesus, whether you “feel” him or not. Prepare for pain, heartache, stumbling, confusion, and questions: but also prepare for Jesus, who loves you through every single season.
Remember, you are:
– A work in progress, looking towards the work finished, Jesus.
– Under construction, in a process, two steps forward, one step back.
– On a journey of faith, because faith is not a light-switch.
– A messy, gritty, raw, real, complicated creation called a human being, and no one should ever shame you for being human. Jesus was one of us, too.
– Not defined by your mood, situation, or circumstance.
– Not defined by the “amount” of your faith, but rather by the perfect author of your faith who receives even your weakest stumbles towards Him. It’s not about your grip, but rather the strength of the branch that holds you.
– So loved that God preempted your failures with the gift of His Son Jesus, who died to pay your price of Hell and who also died exactly for those times you would feel far from Him.
– Always allowed to approach the throne room of God with all your anxieties and fears and requests, no matter how petty, because God can handle your venting and clenching of teeth and He will not bite your head off. It’s also His very grace and acceptance that begin to restore the broken pieces back together.
– A Christian, a profoundly broken person who has met Jesus the Messiah, who radically transforms you by being who he is: the Savior, Redeemer, King, Brother, Friend.