By Meghan Hendrickson
I could feel nothing. For more than six months I felt nothing. I was stuck in a fog. I could not see. I could not hear. I felt stuck in the gray. I breathed in light, but I lived in darkness.
I grew up listening to friends from church talk about how they could not hear God.
My friends would say things like, “Some days I just have to trust in my faith that I know God is there because I just can’t feel him.”
I always felt compassion for my friends who suffered from this faith funk, but I never understood their struggle because I had never experienced it – until this year.
While I was living in South Africa for four months last spring, I felt alive. My eyes were opened to see the world from a new perspective. I began to gain a greater grasp of God’s love for his creation in all the earth.
When I returned to Baylor in August, I was overwhelmed.
I had not been in a classroom setting for nine months. I had not been surrounded solely by people my age for nearly a year. The pointless conversations, shallow complaints and lavishing of money upon things guaranteed to waste away made me sick to my soul.
Immediately I wanted to escape from the self-centered environment I felt trapped in, but I felt the Lord whisper quietly, “Wait. You are here by my will, not your own. Wait.”
Slowly I re-learned the life of a college student at Baylor.
However, as I acclimated to the way things used to be, I lost touch with God and with me.
It was as though I was observing my life, but not living it.
I was like a robot going to class, doing my homework, taking my exams – all for what? My dedication to my studies reaped good grades, but I felt nothing.
I participated in countless deep and meaningful conversations with friends both new and old, but I felt completely disconnected from the whole experience.
I got tired of trying to act like the old me when deep inside I had no idea who I was anymore.
I was in the middle of an identity crisis, and I did not even know it. The inability to establish a connection between my newfound perspective and the purpose of my life resulted in extreme discontentment.
I used to count my blessings. I used to thank God throughout the day.
I no longer felt connected to the things I used to do.
Instead, I would wallow in all that seemed wrong in the world and all that seemed unfair about my life. I was overflowing with complaints. I was not satisfied.
I read the Bible. I prayed to God. I went to church. I listened to Christian music. I talked to brothers and sisters in Christ.
I felt nothing. I heard nothing. It seemed as if my life had turned into nothing.
Then God showed me something.
As Christians around the world entered into this year’s Lenten season to prepare for the Easter season, God reminded me of his only son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus encountered more temptation than I will ever have to face. Jesus experienced more pain than I will ever have to endure. Everything about Jesus is greater than anything about me.
But Jesus died for me. Even when I am drowning in discontent and too self-centered to see his love for me – it was for that unhappy me that Jesus died.
But Jesus did not just die for me. Jesus rose for me. Jesus was raised to life so I could be free. Although I, in my foolishness, often run back to familiar captivity, Jesus died and rose to set me free.
God reminded me of Jesus and I finally felt something. With my gaze fixed on Jesus, I finally heard something.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8 NIV).
God is love. When I am broken, defeated, frustrated and incomplete – God’s love remains and brings me peace.
Praise God for his forgiveness. Praise God for his wide-open arms of grace. Praise God for his new mercies each morning. Praise God I do not have to live my life stuck in that place – that faith funk I hate.
If you cannot hear God, if you cannot feel him – hold on. God does not waste our experiences. He is walking you through this difficult season for a reason. He will rescue you. Think of Jesus and thank God for his unending love.
Meghan Hendrickson is a senior business journalism major from McKinney and is a reporter for the Lariat.