Not in the Mood for God
Beware, complete honesty zone.
Not too long ago I went through a phase where I thought the whole Christianity thing utterly ridiculous. I was at church and overcome by weary cynicism; it all seemed so…silly. It felt like a performance which I was both observing and acting in. The uninterrupted call to holiness was exhausting and impossible; my walk with God was one step forward and two steps back. Contrary to David, I did not “desire His precepts”, rather I desired to be swallowed up by the status quo and the pleasant mundanity of life. A radical life seemed enticing in theory but the actual steps of action it required infringed on my comfort and acutely established reputation.
It was dusk, I was sitting at the bus stop, and more than anything I felt truly weary. I had achieved the point in my life when “tired” seemed like a personality trait rather than a feeling. With tears in my eyes I pondered how easy life would be if I left this whole thing behind. Oh the nonchalant blitheness I could experience if I was not held to such a rigid moral standard, or did not believe in a heaven, a hell, and a loving, sovereign God.
But my attempts to even consider life without God were in vain, because truth elbowed its way past the emotions I had allowed to pilot my heart and planted its feet.
A lot of the time, I do not feel God. I do not want God. I do not even feel like wanting God.
My desire for God comes in hiccups and lurches. I stumble and careen along the path of righteousness. One week I am listening to sermons as I get ready in the morning, the next I am listening to music so obscene those pastors would cringe. One week I am gobbling up my morning devotions, the next week I am checking my phone every two minutes, and the next still I am not doing devotions at all.
Christianity has a demanding nature – it asks for everything and then some. It claims every second of the rest of your life, and then it claims your eternity. True belief depends upon a constantly alert and vigil mind, body, and soul. Christianity is not for the weak.
And yet, it is.
Weakness is the state in which Christ does His best work in and through us. Most of the time, the best I can do is want to want God; to desire a desire for Him. Yet He blesses this because He knows the sort of fickle creatures we are. He knows how foolishly we mistake our feelings for truth. As if what we feel today (affected by innumerable variables from our hormones to the weather) is an accurate portrayal of eternity’s truth.
As John Piper so wisely states,
“My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes – many times – my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens – and it happens every day in some measure – I try not to bend truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.”
We must recognize our own capriciousness. For if “feelings = truth”, truth is very shifty, and the world quickly becomes a very slippery and erratic place.
We must stop playing “He loves me, He loves me not” with God for He always loves us – whether we feel it or not.