But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me? Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless. Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me. They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together. You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness. (Psalm 88:13-18)
Do you ever lack assurance of whether or not you’re saved? Does this sometimes persist for weeks, months, even years at a time? Well, if that’s the case, you’re a normal, healthy Christian. Contrary to wrong beliefs, it is normal to lack assurance at times. If you don’t believe me, just read the Psalms or ask some of your honest Christian friends—if you have any. And therein lies the main problem. The problem is that most Christians in the church are too afraid to admit it. It makes things a lot easier if you know you’re not alone and that lacking assurance is a normal Christian experience. Let me say that one more time: Lacking assurance is a normal Christian experience.
Okay, so it’s normal. That’s great and all, but what do I do about it? How do I get assurance? Well, you may not like my answer, but it’s the tried and true method for dealing with this struggle. The key is to let go of needing to have the feeling of assurance. Assurance isn’t something we can manufacture. We can’t produce it in our minds and hearts no matter how hard we try. Assurance is something only God can put in our hearts according to his will and his good pleasure. As one of my old worship leaders once told me, “Assurance comes and goes.”
And that’s something you need to really take to heart. Assurance comes and goes. I know firsthand that lacking assurance is hard and some of the most excruciating pain one can go through, but believe me, this doesn’t mean you’re lost or that something is wrong. Everything is okay. God may leave you in this state for a long season, but he won’t leave you there forever.
So this sucks…what are we to do? This may be hard to take in at first, but what we’re meant to do is just walk with God as usual. Wake up. Read the Bible and pray, and seek to apply the Bible to our lives and live out the faith. It is often during seasons like this that God is teaching us to not live based on our feelings, and that’s what assurance is. It’s a feeling, and you have to treat it just like you would any other feeling.
Think about what normally happens with your feelings throughout the day. If you’re anything like me, they change constantly. In the morning I’m tired, in the afternoon I’m wired. For a time I’m sad, and at another time I’m mad. At times I experience joy and at another time I’ll experience depression. My mood and feelings are constantly changing, but what doesn’t have to change is my walk with God. I don’t have to stop following God and seeking to do his will just because I’m depressed or angry.
If I only lived for God when I felt good, I wouldn’t be living for God about half the time, and the same can be said for assurance. If all Christians only lived for God when they had times of assurance, they wouldn’t be living for God for a great majority of the time because just like all of our other feelings, our feelings of assurance come and go and that’s the normal experience for all Christians.
Some Christians are so active living out their faith that they don’t think about the feeling of assurance too often. If they did, they might be like, “oh yea, I guess I don’t feel assurance right now.” But that wouldn’t phase them because they are so busy living out their faith that they don’t have time to think or worry about their feelings of assurance. They know that they have had times of assurance, and they know that times of assurance will come later on as they continue walking with God so they just keep on moving.
You may not be there yet. But that’s how you’re going to be. I didn’t have assurance for over ten years of my life, but God has brought me through that season when I didn’t see a way out for years. I say that just to try and encourage you if you’re struggling. God loves you deeply. He hasn’t abandoned you. He has you going through this for a reason, and his reason is to bless you—not to harm you. Just walk with him and seek to live for him. Eventually, you will know the Lord’s presence and the joy of the Lord once again.
- Let Go of Trying to Get Assurance
- Just Seek to Walk With God and Seek to Follow Him Daily
- Let Assurance Come and Go According to God’s Will and Pleasure