Though we cannot touch the sun, or even look at it directly without risking damage to our eyes, we can feel the warmth it radiates. Likewise, we cannot touch God, but we can certainly feel Him. In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is often depicted as fire. We may not be able to touch Him, but we can certainly feel Him. Today we continue our series on experiencing God through our five senses by feeling God when we can’t touch Him.
Touch Erased Thomas’ Doubts
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how Thomas doubted because He had not seen the Risen Savior. He wasn’t satisfied with reports from his fellow followers He wanted to see and feel Jesus for himself, to put his hands in Jesus’ pierced side and his fingers in the nail holes in Jesus’ hands (John 20:27).
Because sometimes even our seeing deceives us. Our eyes play tricks on us. Misled by holograms and optical illusions we begin to question what we see. Did God really part the Red Sea, or what it an atmospheric anomaly? Was that really God in the pillars of smoke and fire? Did God really heal her cancer, or was it science? But touch. That’s harder to fake.
We want to feel Him for ourselves, too. But without faith that is impossible. What did Jesus tell Thomas? Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe. I think we can apply that sentiment to the rest of our senses. Blessed are those who have not touched God, yet believe. (John 20:29)
Just like Thomas, many people cite the lack of feeling God’s presence in their arguments against His reality. Sometimes God’s presence is hard to feel even for the most faithful among us.
Discouragement, Distance, Doubt, & Distraction
We go through seasons where discouragement makes Him feel distant. Times when our feelings create doubt. Periods when all we can touch distracts us from feeling His presence. Bills and laundry pile up. Rejection rears its ugly head. Failures mock us and family hurts us. Disease and pain run rampant. This world has no shortage of things for Satan to use to keep us from feeling God.
But faith is more than a feeling. It is believing and trusting something we cannot see or feel in the physical sense. Something that doesn’t make any earthly sense at all. Yet, faith is the only way to feel God.
Healing and Hope in Our Scars
When we receive God’s gift of faith, we also receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus may not be living and breathing and walking the earth healing with His touch these days, but there is not doubt His Spirit is still working in and through God’s people. The Holy Spirit takes our brokenness, our messes, and our hurts and heals them with a heavenly hope. All the ways we’ve been healed can be used to bring that hope to others, who like Thomas, want to feel God. When we allow others to see and touch the scars He has healed they become witnesses to His work in our lives.
This is why God puts us in community. Because we become stronger when we work together, when we touch others. Touching other people with our stories, our love, our scars helps God feel more real.
Every thing God brings us thorough in this life, leaves a mark. Some of them are victory stories, and some of them come down to simply surviving. When Thomas touched Jesus’ scars, he believed. Your scars hold the same kind of hope for those with doubts. Have you been keeping them covered, thinking you look better without them? Does remembering who you were still cause you shame or pain? Have you ever considered that hiding your scars might be keeping others from feeling God’s healing touch?When Thomas touched Jesus’ scars, he believed. Your scars hold the same kind of hope for those with doubts. #touchgod #5senses #experiencegod Click To Tweet
Hope IN the Hurt
It can be hard to show people what Jesus has healed in us, because it also means admitting we’ve been broken or wounded. It is human nature to want to hide our hurts, but Jesus endured the shame and pain of crucifixion, so that by His wounds, we could be healed. When all people see is a perfectly put together me, it perpetuates the idea that Jesus died just for the good people. (And you can read where that got me in last week’s post.)
It can be even harder to share our unhealed wounds. The things from which Jesus hasn’t yet brought us healing or relief. To some that suffering signals a lack of faith. But those who think that have placed their faith in their feelings and in earthly healing. Not in the healing Jesus promises us. The truth is, it takes a whole lot more faith to remember our hope is not in healing in this world, but in healing for eternity. To share that hope in the midst of our own pain and suffering with no earthly end in sight, touches me more deeply than somebody who looks and acts like Jesus should have died for them. God hasn’t abandoned us as we walk though the valley of a shadow of death. Not at all. In fact, it is there His Word promises He will be with us. God’s presence is powerful when we proclaim His promises in the midst of our messes.God’s presence is powerful when we proclaim His promises in the midst of our messes. #touchgod #5senses #experienceGod Click To Tweet
Satan Twists Our Suffering
Satan tries to use our sin and suffering to separate us from God’s presence. But scripture tells us our problems are a powerful way to be united to Christ. Our difficulties don’t distance us from God. The crosses we carry because of our convictions connect us to Christ.
When we suffer in this life without losing our faith, we share in that feeling with Christ. Yet Satan uses our suffering to shame us into assuming God is far from us. That He doesn’t care. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Hebrews 4:14-15 says, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest, who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 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.” In the KJV, the word empathy is translated as “touched with the feeling.” This is the Greek word sumpatheo, which means to feel sympathy with, to commiserate, have compassion, or be touched with a feeling.
Whenever I am tempted to think God cannot possibly understand what I’m feeling or going through, I remember Jesus felt all the feelings I will ever have. Only, He didn’t just feel them. He conquered them. He defeated sin and death. By faith in His death and resurrection, so will I. And so will you!
Feeling God When You Can’t Touch Him
This world wounds us all, but Jesus promises healing. Our faith makes us well. We are the living, breathing, tangible proof of God’s love for humanity, made to let our lights shine and our wounds and scars tell His story of healing so other people can see and touch them and glorify our Father in Heaven alongside us. Won’t you live like you believe that today?We are the living, breathing, tangible proof of God’s love for humanity, made to let our lights shine and our wounds and scars tell His story of healing so other people can see and touch them and glorify our Father in Heaven alongside… Click To Tweet
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday, Moments of Hope