I turned to close and lock the door as I left. Something bright in the reflection caught my attention, so I turned and stood on the front porch to look. Across the street, the small park was quiet, but what caught my attention was beyond the trees. The sun had just fallen and the sky was burning bright in pink and orange, like a bucket of paint had been dumped across the horizon. I’ve seen sunsets before, but this was just one of those special moments. There was a warm breeze, even in the middle of Autumn. A sliver of daylight still hung behind the trees, beaming through cracks and crevices, highlighting branches like fingers reaching up to the clouds. The rest of the sky had given way to night and I could already see the bright beams of stars and planets above. I was on my way out to meet friends, but I chose to linger for a moment to witness this spectacle. Gazing out at the beauty before me, at the culmination of a passing day, I spoke softly to myself, “Wow, if there is a God, He certainly made one beautiful night.”
Wait... what? I paused for a moment to recollect my statement. Did I really just say “IF there is a God?” I’ve known the Lord for most of my life and God has revealed Himself to me in countless, inexplicable ways. For whatever reason, in that moment, my faith wavered just enough to leave room for some disbelief. Sure, it’s a forgivable mistake and I certainly don’t believe that faith can exist without asking some questions, but I felt shame in the words that escaped my lips. My eyes were witnessing an amazing display of God’s majesty and behind it, the Artist awaited my praise. Instead, I greeted His invitation with a response of doubt. I began to wonder… “Have I grown numb to God’s greatness?”
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1: 20 NIV
I know this verse. I’ve used it to encourage others. How could I forget? In our moments of wavering, we can find assurance in Paul’s words to the Romans; words that can put God’s presence back into perspective. When we doubt His love- when His presence feels distant- when we question His very existence, we can simply open our eyes and look around. Witness the beauty of His creation; marvel at works beyond our understanding; be humbled by His majesty. How can we look to Him with anything less than awe and wonder? His glory reflects all around us, but sometimes that glory can get lost in the mix of our routines, our inward focus, even the very culture of our Christianity. We look down at what we know and not up to what we need. His greatness ceases to amaze those with a heart numb to it.
Yes, we know that sin is the ultimate cause of our numbness. It’s the the hook that tries to drag us away from thinking God is anything special. Pain, fear, doubt, circumstance, routine- they can all blur our vision from seeing a clearly incredible God. Still, without excuse, we are called to persevere. How? By fighting the numbness that seeks to set in our hearts like a rust and chasing a God who can keep the sensations alive. God has no problem sharing His power, His divine nature and His saving grace with us, but we have a role to play as well. He will do His part, but He carefully demands worship in spirit and in truth. Without spirit, our heart will grow cold. Without truth, our eyes will not see.
We often cling to the spiritual highs we experience- anticipating those special moments that will light our fire again. If those moments don’t come; if God doesn’t meet our expectations; we begin to wonder if He’s not keeping His end of the bargain. We start to wonder if we did something wrong along the way. When we lose perspective and no longer see His majesty, the embers of our passion will cool down, causing us to ride a wave of church attendance, ministry involvement and a pursuit of good works in order to keep our spirit alive. It won’t be sufficient! The God who once ignited passion can quickly feel more like a storybook character from a different place and time. The scriptures that once touched our hearts can quickly feel like “old news.” We wonder “why don’t I experience the intensity of God like other Christians do?” I assure you, God hasn’t changed. I believe that He answers those who remain in tune with Him and understand the magnitude of His presence.
We must first seek His goodness before we can expect His greatness.
Have you ever had “pins and needles?” When a part of the body is cut off from blood flow, the body will instinctively numb the area. When blood can again flow freely, the body will experience what we know as pins and needles; a sensation where numbness is reduced and feeling is restored. What can we do when we grow numb to God? What can we do to get the sensations flowing again? What can we do when our joy fades, our excitement dwindles and our expectation for great things has vanished? We can re-tune our channel. We can reconnect and tap back in. We can remind ourselves of what God has done to find confidence and amazement in Him again. Find God in your "day to day" and you will find reasons to be awestruck again.
So, when you find yourself losing steam, losing interest, losing perspective and growing numb, take three steps to draw yourself back. First, remind yourself of what you believe. Without it, faith just becomes another activity. Second, remind yourself why you believe it. Without a cause for remembrance, you will lack the motivation to move or act on it. Lastly, seek Jesus daily and seek Him directly. Through Him, awe in the Father can be inspired again.