I have met with teenagers who, despite all the evidence to the contrary, have told me that they just have never seen God in their lives. But as their youth pastor and having had the opportunity to listen to them over the years and see God moving, I am able to remind them of different times when they felt differently. And as we recount the times God has moved and different times and ways He has spoken to them, they begin to feel more at ease with God’s silence in their lives in that time.
I am certain that this is not strictly a teenage problem, though. I have experienced it, too, even as a pastor. Sometimes you just get into a funk. It is easy to get in a funk as a Christian. I think it’s easy to allow how we feel in a moment or for several consecutive moments to skew how we see God in our lives. It’s easy to hear the whispers of doubt in those times, especially when God is silent, or you’re feeling particularly guilty over something. “God’s not even there.” “God’s not real.” “God’s done with you. You’ve crossed the line one too many times.” And as we listen to those whispers of doubt, we feel more and more isolated as we begin to buy into them.
Whether you keep a praise journal or just have a knack for remembering things, I think it’s important to go back and constantly remind yourself of how God has moved, how He has spoken to you, and how you have felt His presence in your life. I believe it’s important to share those things with other people. David said, “I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” There’s a lot of benefit to that. Your story can be a blessing to someone else when you share it, and then when you are feeling hopelessly lost, your story can be shared back to you and give hope to you.
I believe maintaining a heart of praise and a heart of joy is something that must be pursued actively. Keep praising God. Keep pursuing. Keep remembering. Keep sharing.