For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15–16
There are times when life gets so hard that you feel unable to pray; you may even feel you no longer have any faith. It seems as if the Savior is far from you and that you no longer belong to the Savior, or that you never were on the right track to begin with. It’s as if you were in hell, gripped with fear and a sense of being lost. You may even wish you had never been born. The pain is too great, the future too hopeless.
How I would love to direct you in such a way that all darkness is taken away from your soul! But such agony cannot be blown away with one stroke. For that, we have to wait for a time of grace. Yet, even now the Savior can give you much, but only if you become quiet and place your hope in him. If you remain childlike about your condition, you will not think that everything is lost – even when you hear discordant voices inside you. The Savior is there to comfort you. And if you are unable to become quiet, don’t worry. The harm is not irreparable. Inability is not a sin. The Savior loves you, if only because of your sighs.
Remember, Jesus came into the flesh, into your very need, so that you may know that God is not indifferent to your suffering. You sigh and weep, you are miserable, you mourn for the Savior. That is all right, as long as you do it in the right way. The Savior did not say: “Blessed are those whose cause is right.” He did say: “Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who mourn” (Matt. 5:3–4). Believe it!
If you can’t feel the Savior, then all the more believe in him. Those to whom God’s love is nearest are precisely those who don’t see and yet believe (John 20:29). The same is true of those who don’t feel and yet believe. The enemy often wreaks havoc on our feelings; but he can’t touch your faith. The devil cannot own your faith –unless you give in.
Sometimes you will feel that you have no faith, and yet deep down you still believe. Believe then in your faith. Things will get better. Christ is there, even if he is somewhat hidden. Don’t even be afraid of hell – he is there too. Anyone who sighs and longs will not be lost. It is for our sake that the Lord reveals his glory. Remember, the Savior intercedes on our behalf (Rom. 8:34) and cannot help but intervene with his assistance if you have a longing in your heart.
Johann Christoph Blumhardt