One of the best ways to find out how much you love something is to lose it, to have it removed from you. I speak not here of the love of a particular food group, an item that has been in your possession for perhaps decades, not even of the loss of a loved one, be it spouse or child, but of that nearness to the Lord that you have experienced. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” (Psalm 42:1)
It is in a sense like comparing Psalm 51 when David repented most grievously and in great humility to the Almighty about his sin with Bathsheba and those many months while she was pregnant with the child, straying as far away in his thoughts from the Lord more than perhaps any other time in his life. I would presume, though I could be wrong, that his prayer of great repentance and the acknowledgement of his sin against the Most High, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”(Psalm 51:4) occurred while the child yet lived, but was dying, but it was not part of his supplication that the child might live, it was the acknowledgement in part that for the last several months he had lost something that had been with him since the days of his youth, the presence, the nearness of the Lord.
In this respect, it is what separated him and his predecessor King Saul. “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.” (1st Sam. 16:14) At least nine months of a man of God departing by his own free will from the presence of the Lord, much like the prodigal son, yet it took Nathan the prophet to restore the truth to David.
When you lose that nearness you have known, when it seems as if the Almighty has withdrawn His presence from you, feel blessed in that moment, for unlike King Saul and Samson, you are able to understand His withdrawal from you for a time, but it would be wise of you to consider why it is so.
How much of that loss of what he had known for so long we do not know, but we do know that it took the Lord to send Nathan to David to bring him back into His presence. Sin was the cause in this case, and it is easily seen that for almost a year David treated that sin as a lite thing. In the example of the prodigal son, the young man left on his own accord, seeking for more when he had all that he needed, and returning only after he came to himself.
Because we have been blessed with the incredible gift of free will, the Almighty will allow us to sin, He will also allow us to walk away from His presence, He will Himself even draw away from us at times and allow us to exist in that dry and thirsty land, all for a reason, so that we will realize what it means to lose even for a short time the most precious thing to us, Him.
“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” (Gen. 15:1)
You know that feeling, every one of us who had been saved by grace through faith has been allowed to experience it so that we may come to the realization that He is the most beloved in our lives, so that we will come to the knowledge of the truth that only in His presence is fulness of joy found.
Do not lose sight of Christ, but when you do, do not stop seeking for Him.