Having made mistake after mistake in my life, I could no longer feel the presence of the Lord. When I finally repented I have followed the Lord diligently, but I still cannot feel Him with me. Is this separation permanent?
First and foremost, it is important to understand the Biblical perspective of salvation:
ROM. 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
ROM. 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
ROM. 10:10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
A person who believes the Gospel truly is born again spiritually, Jesus says. The person is forever spiritually new, adopted as a child of God, and nothing that comes before or after this moment will change the person’s eternal destiny, as Paul says:
ROM. 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
ROM. 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Therefore, because God is faithful to His promises, we can believe He never leaves a believer as the scriptures promise:
PS. 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
MATT. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
HEB. 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
HEB. 13:6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Furthermore, a believer who is experiencing trials has a beautiful opportunity to give God glory in how we approach the trials. James says this:
JAMES 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials,
JAMES 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
JAMES 1:4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James continues to give a believer the prescription when we face various trials in our life. Notice if one humbles himself and asks for wisdom "it will be given to him":
JAMES 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
JAMES 1:6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
JAMES 1:7 For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
JAMES 1:8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Additionally, God mentions that He disciplines those that He loves in order to bring us closer to Him and to sanctify us (make more Christ-like):
HEB. 12:4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;
HEB. 12:5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are punished by Him;
HEB. 12:6 For whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He punishes every son whom He accepts.”
HEB. 12:7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
HEB. 12:8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
HEB. 12:9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much more be subject to the Father of [e]spirits, and live?
HEB. 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
HEB. 12:11 For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
HEB. 12:12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble,
HEB. 12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is impaired may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
HEB. 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
HEB. 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
HEB. 12:16 that there be no sexually immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.
HEB. 12:17 For you know that even afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
In light of these verses, we hope that you find encouragement that God is actually working in your life to grow and strengthen you in your walk. As a believer, if we continue to live in our flesh and/or of the world, the Holy Spirit will continue to convict. When various trials that test our faith persist we have a choice to either humble ourselves and seek wisdom and guidance from the Lord OR continue in sin. However, if a child of God's continues to live a sinful lifestyle, one should expect natural consequences. It is crucial to our walk to be in right fellowship with the Lord.