I’ve mentioned the gift of vision that the Lord has blessed me with through His Spirit in some of my previous posts. I experienced a great many for a long period of time. But then came a time where I went weeks – months without seeing a vision. I couldn’t feel God’s presence the way that I wanted to. I couldn’t experience Him through the vivid images that He provided for me as often as I’d desired. And what did I feel?
Like God was not around. Like He might have been, but if He was, He was distant. Not as close as before. Like the very ground beneath my feet was falling apart.
Nevertheless, I believe I caught on to a part of what He was doing.
When the Lord grants me a vision, I feel unexplainably close to Him; amazingly aware of Him. The reality of Him saturates my heart and revitalizes my mind. I feel joy, comfort, and confidence in my faith and in the Lord. But when the frequency of these visions lessen, the emotions that correspond trickle away, and I’m left feeling vulnerable to the world, out of God’s reach, and longing for that feeling again.
I had appointed my emotions as king of my faith; they ruled the confidence and trust I had in the Lord. If I didn’t have visions, I couldn’t “feel” God the way I wanted to, and therefore I was easily shaken and weak in faith. But that’s exactly what the Lord was treating in me, and by not allowing me to experience Him the way I wanted to, He’s shown me what I should be basing my faith on.
“The heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick – who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
This is what the Lord in His Scripture has to say about the heart, about our emotions. That’s a pretty big statement if you ask me – deeming the heart the most deceitful, and desperately sick. It cannot be trusted. And I was basing my faith on this diseased, most deceitful part of myself.
In John 1:1, John tells us: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He plainly tells us that the Word is God, and can we disagree with Scripture? I think not. I believe that what John says here is what he means. The Lord has manifested Himself in the Word through the working of His Holy Spirit, and it beams with real, living activity. Scripture is alive because Yahweh is alive, His full presence emanating from each thin page.
And what does the Word have to say about Itself?
“The entirety of Your word is truth, and all Your righteous judgments endure forever.” Psalm 119:160
The entirety of God’s Word. All of it. Every single page shouts nothing but fact after fact, truth after truth. All throughout 1 Timothy you’ll see the phrase “this saying is trustworthy.” We’re told in Psalm 119:7 that the “testimony of the Lord is trustworthy.” The Bible stresses the credibility of the God and His Word.
This is the exact opposite of what it tells us about our hearts.
There is an abundant, ever-flowing river of goodness within this precious Book, and if we know that God’s Word is reliable, then we have are able to also cling to the most crucial truth:
“For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-11.
God Himself through the Prophets in His Scriptures promise that the entirety of His Word is true.
Regardless of our feelings.
It doesn’t matter if we feel close to the Lord. It doesn’t matter if Jesus seems distant from us. It doesn’t matter if we can’t experience Him through the heavenly spiritual gifts He’s given us like we once did.
He is still God. The fact of who He is and what He’s done through Jesus on the cross for us does not depend on our emotions.
I don’t see visions form the Lord nearly as much as I used to. In fact, it’s become quite rare. But I know that He’s taken them from me for my sake. He was showing me what I was basing my faith on, and it wasn’t the facts – the truth of His Word. And I am overjoyed that He removed them from me, because now my faith is rooted in truth, not in feeling.
I charge you and I from now on: Our feelings are deceitful, but the truth that we find in God’s Word is unchanging. Let’s cling to the the facts, not our feelings