I am laden with the constant desire to “feel” God. Many of my friends are, too. Sometimes, we even rely on this as the sustainer of our faith, so that as soon as we can’t “feel” Him the way we want to, we become down, distraught, and begin to doubt. We turn into angry children, impatiently questioning the goodness of our Father, His promise never to leave us, and sometimes even His existence.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
Let me tell you: our faith will never survive if that is what we call faith.
But what does it mean to “feel” God? What exactly is it that we want when we say that? I have a few ideas.
1. To perceive or examine by touch; to find or pursue by touching, groping, or cautious moves.
Read this definition of the verb “to feel”, and add God as the object.
“To perceive or examine God by touch; to find or pursue God by touching, groping, or cautious moves.”
Gosh, do I long for this. I can’t wait for this. And don’t we all? Don’t all of us who believe in, follow, and know Jesus ache for the moment when we get to see Him face to face? To bow down before the God of the universe as He physically appears before us? To hug our Father – our Abba, and to feel Him hug us back? To be able to see Elohim in all of His glory, fully and completely, is the utmost desire of my heart. This is one meaning that I believe when we say that we want to “feel” God.
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” Psalm 42:2
We long for the most beautiful encounter we will ever experience in this life and in the next.
2. To be or become conscious of.
“To be or become conscious of God.”
We desire this as well, and though it is not any less of an important aim of our hearts, it is the easiest of the three we’re discussing to accomplish. This definition describes our desire to be aware of His presence and hand in our every day lives, whether that be in the situations and circumstances that we experience, or that we see in the lives of others. We long to be able to know and recognize the work that He is doing in the world, both within and outside of our personal lives.
3. To be emotionally affected by.
“To be emotionally affected by God.”
This definition hits me hard, at the tender core of my soul. This is exactly what I want, all the time – and I know others do as well. We want Jesus and all of His reality to hit us so hard that we are on a perpetual emotional high. We want to go up to the mountain top and never come down. We want God’s reality and truth to be so overwhelmingly real to us that we are constantly affected by it, in every waking moment of life on earth, pushing us toward joy, selflessness, righteousness, holiness, purity, love, graciousness, and everything else He instructs us to strive for. And it seems that the majority of believers (including myself) drift toward this definition of “feeling” God, because we know that we cannot yet see the Lord in completeness.
I’m sure one could come up with more meanings when speaking of “feeling” the Lord, but these are the primary ones that I’ve seen in myself, my friends, and the church. We are children of God, and we long for Him. But why? Why do we desire this with such intensity? Believe it or not, it’s not as simple as “because He’s our Dad.” We’ll dive into the possible reasons next week.