Living By Faith Blog


Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Sarah Edwards’ Experience of God

Living by faith — but feeling nothing?

It’s easy to settle for a version of Christianity in which I am believing truth and doing actions — but feeling nothing.

That’s why it’s helpful to read about the spiritual experiences of believers who have gone before us.

Like Sarah Edwards.

Meditating on God’s Word

Sarah Edwards was the wife of Jonathan Edwards.  She had been meditating on Romans 8:34 —

Who is the one who condemns?  Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

Here´s what she said happened —

“When I was alone, the words came to my mind with great power and sweetness.  They appeared to me with undoubted certainty as the words of God, and as words which God was actually speaking personally to me.  I had no more doubts of it, than I had of my own being.

“I cannot find language to express how certain this appeared … My safety, and happiness, and eternal enjoyment of God´s love seemed as durable and unchangeable as God himself.

“Melted and overcome by the sweetness of this assurance I fell into a great flow of tears … the presence of God was so near, and so real, that I seemed scarcely conscious of anything else.”

(paraphrased, from Ian Murray’s “Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography” p.194f.)

What this teaches me

  • Don’t settle for feeling nothing.  I may never have an experience exactly like this — but everyone who believes will enjoy rivers of living water (John 7:37-38).  Trust Jesus’ promise, and ask Him for more.
  • Meditate earnestly on God’s Word.  That’s how she had this powerful experience.  Just like Paul said — God provides the Spirit as we hear with faith (Gal 3:5).
  • Trust Jesus as my all-satisfying Treasure.  She was so satisfied that she was not conscious of anything else (Psalm 73:25).
  • Don’t be unrealistic.  It’s clear that she did not experience this all the time.  That’s why Paul prays that believers will have the eyes of their hearts enlightened (Eph 1:17-18), and why he commands believers to be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18).
  • Don’t be discouraged when I feel nothing.  Just press in with faith and prayer and earnest meditation on God’s Word (Psa 63:1).
  • Don’t depend on feelings.  Her confidence in God’s love did not depend on her feelings — but on the fact that His love in Christ is unchangeable (Rom 8:32,35).  Our feelings are changeable; God’s love is not.

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Category: Stories about Other People, The Work of the Spirit


4 Responses

  1. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    At first I want to say that I’m glad I found your blog, Steve. It’s so refreshing for me to read your own thoughts and experiences with God(‘s Word) expressed in such a vivid, honest and authentic way.
    Congratulations – you’ve really succeeded in landing a coup by creating this blog!!

    But, back on topic. Sarah Edwards…
    I guess the experience Sarah made was a mystic one. The fact that she almost lost consciousness of anything around her – and most probably also inside of her mind – points towards a beginning (religious) ecstacy.

    The Bible verses you cited above match perfectly with the whole thing. Particularly Ephesians, that is speaking of our heart’s enlightenment through the Holy Spirit, hints at God’s desire to reveal Himself to us.

    I’m not a theologian but I know such experiences can be real. A couple of years ago my whole life seemed to break into a thousand pieces (not only spiritually but in various essential areas of life).

    It was on a summer’s day in 2000 that I found myself desperately crying my eyes out and praying to God for hours. Words were missing and so I always cried out the same:
    “Lord, please reveal yourself!”
    Later I fell asleep. I was totally exhausted and “empty-wept”. But suddenly, long after midnight, I woke up and wondered.
    There was a smooth and bright light that illuminated the bedroom. Overwhelming peace, exuberant joy and an unimaginable dimension of love was passing both through the room and through my whole body and soul.
    And then, I heard Jesus’ voice for the first time in my life. He said:
    “You are the bride.”
    This was the most tender and wonderful sound that ever reached my ear. I never will forget it though I experienced a lot with Him throughout the years (dark and doubting times included!).

    But as you mentioned above, Steve, such experiences are on rare occasions. The Bible verse I referred to in my prayer was the following:

    “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14,21/ESV)

    I flipped through the English Bible translations, but I only found “manifest” or “show” instead of Luther’s “reveal” (German Bible translation 1984).

    At the moment, thank you for your attention, Steve. I only wanted to share some of my own thoughts with you.

    God bless

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts, Susanne. I’m glad you are finding this blog helpful.

      And thank you for sharing the experience you had in 2000. I love the promise of Galatians 3:5 — that as we hear God’s Word with faith — He will provide even more of the revealing work of the Spirit.

      Let’s press on to know the Lord — and to make Him known!

      • Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

        Thanks for your gracious response, Steve.

        Meanwhile I’ve read several posts of your blog and I didn’t change my opinion: it’s awesome!

        Eminently helpful was your entry concerning the “Golden Rule”. I’ve never heard of it before, but from time to time I used it, though unknowingly and unconsciously. You really hit the nail on the head: It’s an implementable guidance for me and from now on I’ll try to use it always. Promise! Thanks a bunch for this special tool!

        Isn’t it a great gift from God that we can be “addicted” to His Word? I assume that’s a healthy kind of obsession, right?
        Sometimes I could read and read and re-read some Bible verses and suddenly a deeper unterstanding is lifting me up. Then His Words taste like a slice of Heaven and I feel as if a new life has begun.

        As for Gal 3:5 – yes, that’s a magnificent promise. And we only need to hear with faith – nothing else is necessary but who can imagine the consequences?
        Quoting you:
        “He will provide even more of the revealing work of the Spirit.” Exactly! Another Bible verse crosses my mind which (apparently) insinuates the riches God will give to us:

        “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor 2:9)
        What a wonderful Lord, full of mysteries…

        Well, finally, I’d like quoting you again:
        “Let’s press on to know the Lord — and to make Him known!”


        • Steve Fuller says:

          Again, thank you for taking the time to write your encouraging thoughts.

          And may the Father enlighten the eyes of your heart so you can know the hope of His calling, the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power towards us who believe (Eph 1:17-19).

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