How Do I Know God Is Near?


Have you ever woken up and felt your senses dulled? Or maybe you’ve felt dead inside from deep anguish or loss?

Sadly I have learned that I am hopelessly, until I leave this planet, tied to my emotions, to unseen environmental effects on my body and to subconscious thoughts.

Recently over dinner, my husband shared a story with me about a friend’s father who was suffering from dementia. Our friend told how sad it was to listen to his once bright and articulate father talk about people he saw in the room with them who were clearly not there.

When I woke the next morning I felt not really tired but dull. Something was different. Did I not sleep well? I replayed what I remembered and decided that wasn’t it. Was it my spring pollen-induced allergies? I was current on my allergy injections and pollen was diminishing; shouldn’t be a factor I decided. Nothing conclusive came to mind.

I plodded through my day, waiting for the fog to lift, focusing on what was next, praying as I went, but somehow I not all there.

Have you done that too?

At some point in my day, I remembered a favorite verse: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  Ah, Lord, is it a fear of change that is dulling my soul today? Did the story about my friend’s father sow a seed of fear in my heart and I was unaware of the planting? Did a future I cannot control unnerve me?

And then another verse, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Yes, Lord, your Presence will never leave me even if I become incoherent some day. Even today you are with me.

The Holy Spirit, invisible, fully God, guides, strengthens, intercedes, and–most importantly for me, whispers truth to my heart, soul, and mind. It is almost tangible to remember His eternal truth in such moments.

My fog began to clear by day’s end, but that is not always so. A dear sister in Christ, Kerry Tittle, said she felt nothing and remembers very little from the first seven months following the death of her husband and two teenaged daughters by a tornado exactly two years ago. Though she did not feel His Presence, He surely sustained her life for those months and still does today.

I wish the Holy Spirit would respond on my command–just typing this feels presumptuous, rebellious; that is the truth of what my heart wants—He will not. In my flesh, I wish for a God who will do what I ask.

Instead, I belong to a God I cannot understand, who does not owe me anything, who I have offended; yet His incomprehensible love has not just come near, but has come within, giving me life, washing me clean and guaranteeing me life everlasting.

Thinking of the gift of the Holy Spirit to me puts my days in perspective. He sustains me when I feel well and when I don’t. Every breath is at His command. His life gives life to me.

“Holy Spirit of God, how grateful I am for You though I can’t see or feel or touch You. Your invisible work sustains my life. Your words are ever true. Help me trust you more. Amen.”

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10 thoughts on “How Do I Know God Is Near?”

  1. Thank you so much for being so honest and helping me relate in knowing that we all share similar struggles. I get great encouragement from reading your posts!

  2. God bless you sister. I needed to read this. I woke up this morning feeling even more depressed and hating myself with renewed vigor. I felt ashamed but not sure how to shake myself out of this mood. Just reading your post makes me realize that God loves me so much and by hating myself, I am telling God that He made a mistake…He is always on time. Thank you

  3. Holy Spirit God-YOU are my very breath. Let nothing – NOTHING –
    near YOUR TEMPLE -NO strategy
    of the enemy. Amen. d

  4. Thank you, Barbara, for putting into words what I have so often felt, and for going the further steps of discerning the root cause(es) of the feeling(s) and asking our Father through His Holy Spirit, to apply His written word to your greatest needs in those moments. Ah, the refreshment of His word, aptly and correctly applied!

  5. Thank you so much for your honesty :-) I have often felt this way and couldn’t understand why but you have blessed my heart with the word of God for me to lean on, and for that I am truly thankful to you. Blessings !


  6. Excellent thoughts. Just what I need to read today.
    My childhood friend just passed away and a beloved cousin passed away this month. Find myself numb and then feeling some anger. Asking God, why do people have to die?

  7. I appreciate this writing. I am getting to the place where I can go into prayer and feel His presence. But it is His absence that I want to make less and less. Adam truly gave up something when he could walk daily communing with God.

  8. Barbara, your gentle words have ministered to me today. Thank you for acknowledging so beautifully that dullness of spirit and blanket of emotion that sometimes puts a damper on my day, or at least my hours. And thank you for reminding me that while God is always with me and working in my life, He does not just jump to my bidding and immediately clear the air just because I want…or even will or pray…for Him to. “In my flesh, I wish for a God who will do what I ask. Instead, I belong to a God I cannot understand, who does not owe me anything.

    I am currently reading your Guide to the Empty Nest. The reason I searched for your website today is because I have so appreciated the gentle, soothing and encouraging voice(s) I found in this book. My son (25) has lived far from home for the past three years. Now my only other child, my daughter (22) who just graduated from college, just moved 2,000 miles away. All of my family – my parents, my brother and his family, and both of my kids – now live in Atlanta. My husband and I live in Arizona, where he pastors a church and I minister to women. I feel isolated, lonely and scared. But I know God is with me and walking me through this transition. I am very happy for my kids and where life has taken them. And I never expected them to stay here in Arizona. But life is just a little fragile for me right now. And I feel like a bit of a mess. I’m not supposed to be a mess. I minister to women…who are a mess! Oh, I say that tongue in cheek. I’m quite aware that I’ve always been a mess and that God works especially well through those of us who are up front about our frailties. But…

    Well, I’m babbling. I would appreciate a short prayer said on my behalf if you have a moment. And I’d love it if you would drop by my website sometime. I feel like we could be kindred spirits. Or at least, for right now, when my heart is trying to make sense of the freshly emptied nest, I have appreciated your gentle voice and wise words. Blessings, my friend. You have ministered to me.

  9. I can relate to this…more and more I feel lost, though I know God is with me and blessing me. I feel slow and losing control of what I should be doing, but I do not do. I am functioning, but I lose things, and I forget so much. (I am aging, and I know part of this is aging..70’s). But I keep reminding myself God is with me and He knows my struggles. Thanks for the reminder of the Holy Spirit, and His promise from Jesus to be with us always.

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