I read the bible and feel nothing. I have this void and am trying to fill it with God, but its not working. everybody else is so happy! I dont know what to do…
I’m wondering how long you have been struggling with this void? Depression often manifests as feeling nothing, an emptiness that seems hard to fill. I think you are wise to turn to God to try and find what you are missing, perhaps you need someone to walk through this with you? Do you have a church to turn to?
@gabrielk. Several things I would share with you Gabe, I don’t approach the reading of GOD’s Word as something I would feel. There are times when I read a scripture that speaks specifically to want I am experiencing. When that happens there is a definite awareness and connection to what I am reading. Sometimes invoking tears, sometimes grief, sometimes joy.
But the Word of GOD for me is like a huge multi-vitamin. I may not feel its immediate effect on my body. But I know in time the multi-vitamin will provide nourishment and support to my inner and outward body. It’s what old folk call “sending up my timber.” Packing supplies for the journey that lies ahead. I would not trust the presence of feelings as an indicator that I benefited from the study of GOD’s Word. But taking that multi-vitamin is crucial to your overall health. Make sure you take it daily.
Hebrew 4:12 kjv. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The problem with feelings is their presence and appearance in the lives of others can be deceiving. It is lovely to feel one way or the other. But I think that speaks more to human sensibility than an indication of the presence of GOD. Just reading your thoughts tells me that you possess the same feelings that we all do. Perhaps what you are seeing in others is the lesson we all come to learn. We don’t have joy, or peace because we have called it down from on high.
According to the Word, GOD inhabits the praises of His Saints. This is so true. Things are not ideal in my body at this time. But each step I take has become an opportunity to bless the name of JESUS.
I have learned that when a situation does not appear to respond to my prayer, I figure someone should receive the blessing of such misery. Those times are opportunities to love on the Lord. To bless His sweet name. Whether I can feel it or not. I know He is worthy. I have praised my way out of many dark places. Psalms 22:1-3 kjv. An example of this practice, Acts 16-23-30 kjv.
It is not your job to fill the void. Present it to the Lord as a sacrifice of your heart, and wait on Him to fill that place. When we try to fill the spaces we are frustrated because loving GOD is a gift. Gifts you receive, and gifts you give. Give Him the gift of your void. Being loved by GOD is evident all about you. Not because you look like others, or act like others but because despite ourselves GOD loves us.
yes I have a nice church that I go to. and they help me a lot. I just had this question in my mind that I wanted to ask rzim
wow I never thought about it like that. thank you
While I agree that faith should not depend on feeling, that’s entirely true, but we can experience the benefits of God’s love and satisfaction through worship, and with the right heart and mindset this is a guarantee.
I hope I’m allowed to post these links here:
Passionate worship should help. Sovereign Grace offer biblically rich, and God uplifting music.
As does CityAlight:
Whenever I feel down and things don’t go my way I oftentimes blast out “In Christ Alone”. This helps me in feel secure even in the deepest depression and strife. You could really listen to any worship music depending on your mood, just make sure it is biblically rich and God uplifting. The occasional “me” or I focused songs may help when we feel like boasting, but should be limited.
Meditating and praying over Psalms helps also. Reading each psalm slowly and reflecting on its meaning.
I like John Piper’s motto: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”
In this sense we glorify God when we are happy.
Again, our faith should not depend on how we feel. However, God guarantees us peace and satisfaction if we take refuge in him. This is not worldly prosperity, but a filled soul: the only thing we need in this passing life.
A quick remember though: there is no work we do or don’t do that saves us. It is God’s grace and mercy that we should be satisfied in. Just as @cer7 points out we rely on God to fill the void for us, and this is one benefit of giving him praise, though we are undeserving.
To come back to your question, I think @cer7 hits the jackpot in their response. It is true that the Word of God is like the anchor in our faith, the weapon to fight every trial, and as Paul says: it the helmet of Salvation, and sword of the Spirit. Whether or not we feel it, the our Spirit reacts to the word in a profound way. Even if we feel empty, there’s a good chance it is taking effect in our lives in ways we cannot comprehend.
I really hope this post can help
Such great insights, I really agree wholehearted that bringing all of our life before God and that His Word and the beauty of music and praise can keep your eyes on Jesus. I would encourage you in prayer as well, to ask God to give you direction as you read. I’m Praying tonight that all that has been offered here will help you to know that you are truly loved by God.
Hi Gabe. If I’m reading this right, you want to “know what to do” in response to inner emptiness. Although it has already been touched on, let me start here: Ravi once said that emotions are supposed to be indicators of reality, not fabricators or framers of reality (LMPT Worship A Clue to Meaning in Life Pt 2 20090314). Your emotions are telling you something is wrong, that much is clear.
What you seem to be struggling with then, is what your reaction should be. I will say this - I think your usage of language demonstrates a possible misunderstanding of what it means to be Christian. God is not One to be consumed for our pleasure, like video games or Oreos. I just finished a pint of Haagen-Dazs, and I have a bit of a sugar high, but I’m not truly any happier than I was an hour ago.
You might say these are silly examples. Indeed. Now let’s suppose you’re dating a girl and you decide to go shoe shopping with her. At the end of the day (yes, the whole day), you say to her, “I have no feeling in my legs, nor in my heart. I spent this day with you because I thought it’s what you wanted me to do. I thought this would bring us together, but it hasn’t worked. What else can I do for you that will make me happy?”
Do you see the conflict? This is nothing more than making a sacrifice now so that you can consume, or reap your benefit later. To be “in Christ” is to navigate relationship with Him. The question is not what can we do for Him, but rather, what can we give to Him? Jesus would put it this way, quoting the prophet Hosea, He said “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13). The Jews presented sacrifices in the temple daily. Jesus said I don’t want your insincere offerings, but your heart. I want you to have My heart. I want you to have mercy on others - compassion, and lovingkindness.
Jesus patterned a model of giving. This is what love is. Follow His example. When we only seek to consume, to take, we eventually realize a diminishing utility. Celebrities prove this time and again. Emptiness is a result of self-centered consumption. God is a Person, and persons are to be known, not consumed. Therefore, if you desire to be truly filled, you must pursue the Person of Jesus Christ.
Do not think this is a criticism. I mean here to greatly encourage you that the faith journey of the Christian is one of mountains and valleys, sorrows and joy. Though we may have peace, Christians are not “happy” all of the time, that’s sheer nonsense. Keep reading the Bible, but with the purpose of knowing Jesus. You’ll have questions. Look them up. Pray to the Lord to teach you by His Spirit. And keep asking questions!
Yes, being a Christian does not necessarily grant happiness.
@gabrielk I can’t edit anymore. Read this as “we glorify God when we are happy in him.” That is, when our soul is filled with peace and joy.
The current phrase is shaky
@gabrielk I am not an expert, Gabe, and I can only speak in generalities, but in my experience, sometimes when we try too hard to change our feelings, nothing happens. When we set them aside and seek God and do what He says on a daily basis, we wake up one day, and our hearts are lighter. Feelings of emptiness can be physical and due to things like thyroid issues or depression etc in which case we need a doctor to diagnose and treat, or they can be due to emotional stresses that have never been dealt with properly or childhood wounds that haven’t been healed or they can be due to sin that has never been confessed and put away or simply we may have a personality that is more somber. I’m sure there are other factors as well. Another thing to think about is this: Is happiness what I am seeking hard after, and if so has happiness become an idol? Psalm 102:7 speaks of Jesus like a sparrow alone upon the housetop. He knows sorrow, and He’ll walk this path with you. You may need to dig deeper into the reason for your feelings of void. In Genesis 1:2 we read about the Spirit of God hovering over the face of the water. May He hover over you and bring you life and light. I will pray for you as the Lord brings you to mind. Be encouraged that He sees you and cares for you.
After reading all these comments it helped me greatly. I realized when I said I had a “void”, I did not elaborate on it. When I wake up every day I just don’t see a reason to do anything. What I am asking is, can reading the bible give me a reason to live.
Thank you for this comment, it really helped me a lot! One thing you said though kind of bothered me. I am not just reading the Bible to “get something for myself” but I am trying to build a relationship with Jesus. I want to be his follower and have joy in him alone, just like John Piper says. I would not be reading the bible if I didn’t. I guess I worded my question wrong.
Gabe, you need to ask yourself why you wake up feeling that way. Has something happened that caused you to feel like nothing matters, or is this an intellectual quest for purpose? Is there someone at your church (that you feel comfortable with) equipped to counsel you and help you answer these questions? As for a reason to live, as long as God keeps us in this world, He has a reason for us to be here. When He calls us home, and we finally stand before Him, we will fully understand. In the meantime, trust His purpose and live for His glory and seek to bless others around you with the strengths and gifts God has given you. If we don’t share what we receive, we become stagnant and unhealthy. Paul says in Philippians 4:11 he learned to live in both prosperity and in need (that can be physical or emotional prosperity and need). Proverbs 3:5 is another great verse to meditate on.
When I was younger, I was greatly blessed by the ministry of Charles Stanley. His preaching often opened my eyes to emotional chains that kept me back from rejoicing in God and in His gifts in my life. Sometimes we’re looking for something far off and fail to appreciate what we already have. There was a time in my life when I had to intentionally give thanks for everything, even the small things. That really helped my outlook. One last thing, like @cer7 said in her post, give God the void that you feel. Offer it to Him every day, maybe even every hour. The Lord may be training you right now not to rely on feelings. He will bring you to the other side at the right moment. The Lord bless you, Gabe, and I do hope God grants you the desire of your heart for relief. Certainly your desire to rejoice in Him is according to His will.
Well I guess that makes sense, my father died when I was 13(I am 17 now). But I thought it would get better by now. But like you and @cer7 said, I am going to rely on God and not my feelings. Thank you all.
I am so sorry for your loss, Gabe. Thirteen is very young to lose your dad. My father did not die when I was 13, but he was gone most of my life (since I was 2 years old) working overseas etc. He was a good and godly father, but his absence was very hard for me. I had to deal with that lack of fatherly foundation for many years. I want to encourage you that God will never ever leave you or forsake you. He is your Father, a Father to the fatherless. He will bring you through.
Gabe, while thinking about your question and praying, I wondered if reading and meditating on scriptures regarding men like Joseph and Daniel and David would at this point in your life provide you with living examples of how God directed and pruned and helped these men grow and become amazing servants of God. Take Joseph for instance, one of my favorite men in the Old Testament. He was 17 when he was taken away from his father’s house, hated by his brothers, sold into Egypt as a slave. The scriptures say that God was with Joseph, and he was a successful man. Why not try reading these scriptures prayerfully and see how God may use their examples to encourage you in your daily pursuit of God? The Psalms also may help you navigate this void you were talking about. Seventeen is such an incredible age; most likely Daniel and his friends as well as David were around that age when they were thrust into a new role, David defending God’s people against Goliath, for instance. I trust God has a great purpose for your life. You bringing up this question on here has caused a number of us to bring you before God’s throne. This is not a coincidence. God bless!
I think I know what you mean and I can only offer you my experience. I went through a period where I was completely dead inside, nothing gave me joy and although I was going to church, nothing made me happy, literally nothing. I even self medicated on natural supplements to help my state of being a walking, talking corpse (it did nothing except reduce my bank balance). I was however asking the right question as you are now doing: “Why am I feeling this way?”
I did not know it at the time, but for me it was un-confessed and unrepentant sin that I was trying to hide and I quenched/grieved the Holy Spirit. When I confessed my sins, after Holy Spirit pointed it out, I went through a period of godly sorrow as the light of the living God entered my heart and drove out darkness. I am by no means where I need to be in my walk with Jesus Christ, but I am praying that He will prune me so that I can bear fruit, to burn away that what is not of Him by His refining fire so that His image can be seen in me.
I have also realized that feelings and emotions can by no means be trusted, because your emotions are largely driven by what you think. Now it is written that we must renew our mind constantly and capture our thoughts: Romans 12:2
Joy and peace is what we should strive for, as happiness is fleeting and an emotion, so choose to praise God, to seek His face, to keep short accounts with Him (have a heart posture of repentance), not to wallow in sorrow and live out your purpose: to glorify Him which is all of our purpose, it’s God’s plan for your life that you must pray about which He will make known to you. Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-25
Some scripture to consider: Deuteronomy 30:19-20, Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4:8, Proverbs 17:22, Romans 15:13
Something I have also found useful is the acronym “ACTS” when praying which are: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication and in that order. Praising God and His majesty, dominion, sovereignty, power, mercy and grace is wonderful for your heart. Look up the names of God and call Him on it as His character is revealed in them…He is Jehovah-Nissi-Uzzi-Jireh-Rohi-El Roi-Shammah, Yahweh, Elohim, El-Elyon, El-Shadai, Yeshua Hamashiach, Ruach Hokodesh!
I also agree with what has been mentioned previously by others and in particular @tony_mercurio as our “flesh” wants something for our effort, an expectation after an effort has been made in some form or another. Expect God to reveal His character to you, but not to be “made happy”, that is a choice. Expect God to hear your prayers, not to jump at every request (prayers are answered when the need experienced, aligns with His perfect will and then it will happen in His perfect timing), expect God to always be with you, not to free you from trials and hardship…
May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ bless you brother Gabe!
P.S Never feel like you need to go through something alone, speak up and seek professional help i.e counselling or medical if your state does not change.
You have many responses to consider, and I would like to add one more perspective. First, a couple of questions. Have you come to a place that you know that you have sinned against a holy God, and that you are in need of a Savior? Have you asked God to forgive you of your sinful past, and have you asked Jesus Christ to be your Savior and Lord? Romans 10:9-10 tells us that if we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved. Verse ten tells us more: “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. If you have done this God has imparted to you the “the gift of righteousness.” May I encourage you to study the writings of the apostles Paul and John, especially the book of 1st John. It is vitally important for every follower of Jesus Christ to understand all the blessings and benefits that come with being a Christ follower.
For example: Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 that when we come to faith in Christ our old life is deleted, and that we are “new creations” in Christ. In other words, God wiped the slate of your life clean! In verse 19 Paul tells that our sins have been forgiven, and in verse 21 he declares that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. When God looks at you, He sees you as righteous because the shed blood of Jesus has washed you clean, & continues to wash you clean. In Romans 5:1 Paul tells us we are made righteous by faith, not by feelings; It is a gift from our Heavenly Father. Then in verses 9 & 17 we are again declared righteous, and “those who receive the abundance of grace & the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Gabe, these are incredible promises to get excited about, and there is more, a lot more. In Romans 8:1-2 Paul tells us not to entertain thoughts of condemnation because Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. At the end of chapter 8 Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Now let’s talk about your sins. We already saw that your sins were cleansed in II Cor. 5. Fast forward to 1st John 1:7. John says, that if we keep living in the pure light that surrounds Him, we share unbroken fellowship with our brothers & sisters in Christ, & the blood of Jesus, His Son, continually cleanses us from all sin. Then in 1st John 2:1-2 John again is addressing believers when he says that if we sin, we continually have a forgiving Redeemer who is face-to-face with the Father, and he is making intercession on our behalf. He then corroborates this in verse 12: I remind you dear children that your sins have been permanently removed because of the power of His name. This is all affirmed in Hebrews 10:17, “I will not ever again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” Gabe, God declares in II Cor. 6:18 that He will be a Father to you, and we will be His beloved sons and daughters.”
Gabe, this Christian life is not about feelings, feelings will come, it is about believing the truths of God’s Word. If we believe these truths & receive them into our hearts and minds our thinking will change. If we change the way we think, it will change how we live. Read and mediate on these and other verses of promise. Begin thanking & praising God for these wonderful statements and promises that which are written to you, and for your benefit and growth. Believe that God loves you even when you screw up, and that NOTHING can separate you from the love of God. If you begin living this out, I promise the good feelings will come. This Christian life is all about Jesus. Keep your focus on Him. Talk to Him often, and give Him thanks & praise for all He has done, & all He is doing in your life.
May God richly bless you!
@gabrielk Gabe, while reading through the replies I really emphatize with you and how you feel. I’m sorry for your loss. From what I see (take this with a pinch of salt) you might be dealing with some mental issues. The reason I say that is because, I have problems with depression myself and your description of the void is pretty similiar to how I feel a lot of the time. It is really difficult, if you need someone to talk to, you can message me.
Perhaps you could talk to someone or a doctor about it. There’s no harm of trying to further understand your emotions. Are you eating well? Sleeping or getting enough exercise? The physical aspect is pretty important too
The others above have mentioned not putting your emotions on top and I think they elaborated on it quite well, my advice would be not to try to force happiness or emotions. Thinking that I should feel in a certain way or think in a certain way. Comparing your state of mind or ‘progress’ with others isn’t very fair.
Everyone is different and truthfully, people might not be as happy all the time as they seem to be. It’s easy to fall into the category of doubt and frustration when you know yourself so well and wonder if the problem is you when you don’t meet what seems to be normal in others. But take heart Gabe, it’s ok.
There’s no such thing as how everyone should feel when they read the bible, or what a good Christian should be like. Everyone’s life and journey is different, santification is a slow and difficult process that cannot be rushed. Just as you’re making the effort to build a good relationship with God, there are ups and downs, it takes time.
God sees your heart and your desire, be encouraged because he loves and appreciates your desire to draw close to him despite your emotional or mental barrier. It’s normal to feel the way you do, really. Part of faith is believing that what you do makes a difference despite not beinh able to see it. Continue to push through, seek after him and reach out to us. Take breaks and rest where it is needed.
Take care, update us. Will be praying for you!