Most of us are familiar with “the Love Chapter,” 1 Cor. 13, that tells us love is patient and kind; that it does not envy, nor boast, and is not proud. It doesn’t dishonor others, is not self-seeking, nor easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. The chapter goes on to say love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth and always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres, and — the famous phrase — it never fails.
All of this sounds just great until our bills become months overdue, or the baby cries constantly all night long, or the traffic is jammed for hours, or we lose our job. Where is love then? Where is love in our day-to-day life? We know “God is Love,” (1 John 4:8) but sometimes He seems lost to us in the midst of our circumstances and busy lives.
I think we’ve all been there at times. Times when God seems distant or even non-existent in our present reality. We know in our heads that God’s love is eternal and ever-present but we do not always feel or sense it.
So when you cannot sense God’s love, what do you do? You trust. Isn’t that what faith is anyway — trusting in something that we cannot see, hear, touch, taste or smell? When circumstances drive us to the point of not being able to sense God, our faith must kick in and we must know that, yes, in reality, He IS still here with us. This is the real test, trusting to still hold my heart open to God’s love even when I sense nothing.
God calls us to live a life of faith. And that can look like fear in the midst of anger or tears in the midst of pain, but Love Himself will truly never leave you nor forsake you.
We say, “When a tree falls in the woods where nobody can hear it, does it still make a sound?” Along those same lines I think we could say, “When life is happening and we cannot feel God’s presence, is He still around?” I would have to say, “Yes,” to both.
Just because we lose our perception of Him doesn’t mean He’s left us. And just because we cannot feel His presence doesn’t mean He’s not there. Perhaps that’s why Jesus often told His disciples, “O ye of little faith.” We may lose Him, but He doesn’t lose us. That’s reality. That’s living by faith.
Maybe that’s why the Love Chapter ends by telling us that faith, hope, and love will always remain — but that the greatest of these is love.
When you can hold your heart open by faith — even when you cannot sense Him — the feeling of God’s love will eventually return but now it’s deeper, fuller, and richer from growing in trust.