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Why does God allow us to go through times when it seems like He is absent?

Periodically during our journey of faith, Christians will go through times of spiritual dryness – a “dark night of the soul” as St. John of the Cross dubbed it – when we think God has forsaken us.  It will seem that He no longer answers our prayers, that He has withdrawn His provision, or that He is angry with us.  This was true of David when he penned these words in Psalm 22; it was true a thousand years later when Jesus uttered them on the Cross (Matthew 27:46).  While it might have seemed that they had been abandoned by the Father, nothing could have been further from the truth.  Ultimately, David’s trials shaped him into a man after God’s own heart and the greatest king in Israel’s history, while Christ’s sufferings secured our eternal salvation.

Paradoxically, the Father allows His children to undergo the forsaken test as a way of strengthening, not weakening, our faith.  Immature Christians are prone to operate on emotions:  they want to feel close to God all the time, which may lead them to seek spiritual experiences or demonstrations of God’s power for their own sake or in unscriptural ways.  Jesus judged His generation “evil” because they were always questing after the next sensational miracle (Luke 11:29). 

The forsaken test, however, strips the Christian of false sentimentality and an all-too-human tendency to treat God like a magic genie.  During the dry spells, our love for God is tested for its genuineness:  Will we seek Him for His own sake, because He is God and He worthy of our worship?  Or will we jettison our flimsy, self-centered faith when God no longer dances to our tune?

Submitted by Diane Singer

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