Youth retreats can completely ruin your spiritual life. Don’t get me wrong, I love youth retreats, and have seen many people make important decisions for their life there. However, much of what people talk about in regards to those youth retreats is an emotional sense of the presence of God. Worse, many people end up making the two things mean the same making statements like “God was so present that I couldn't stop crying.”
But, what happens when you don’t feel it, or cant feel it, or stop feeling it? Does it mean that God has left you or you have left God?
I want to answer that with a clear and passionate NO.
God is not a feeling, and God’s presence is not somehow tied to our emotions like some sort of God gauge with the more emotional we feel indicating the power of God in any given situation.
The reality is that there are many people who rarely if ever experience God emotionally, but who live devoted lives to Jesus and have a close, intimate relationship with him.
I think that most people have a favorite or common way that they experience God. For some people it’s through their emotions, for some it is more mental, while for others it is in their relationships with other people. All of those ways are good and can lead you further along the path.
Now, what about the question? I think that when we don’t feel God we need to take stock of who we are. If you are a very emotional person in your relationship with God, it could mean that you have drifted away and need to reflect and confess.
However if that’s not you, if you aren’t an overly emotional person, then look at who you are. Maybe you love reading. If that’s you then pick up a good book or open the Bible. If you are a person who is always around people, call up some friends and go to church. If you are an artist, spend some time googling different stories in the Bible and looking at the art that has been made and create art yourself.
At the end of the day, whether you feel God or not, God is present. Always. Right there with you. All you have to do is find a way to open up and pay attention to that presence, and you do that by using who you are to be aware of the presence of God wherever you are.