Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at .roger@preachitteachit.org.

Dear Roger,

Why am I not getting the same message and enthusiasm that I have for years? I know that it's an attack from Satan and not the church. How do I pray to get my spirit-filled life back?

Sincerely, K

Dear K,

It sounds to me that you’re losing your love for Jesus. Don’t despair. Most of us lose our love for Jesus at some time or other. Developing a love life with Jesus is like developing a love life. The initial burst of thrilling romance soon settles down to a long-time maturing which ultimately results in deep intimacy.

I met my wife Julie on Sunday morning. I was preaching in a small rural church and she arrived thirty minutes late to sing and play for the service. I led worship a capella until she arrived, out of breath and hurried straight to the piano. Our romance commenced that evening. Unfortunately, typically, love does not march unimpeded to full intimacy. Relationships are full of ups and downs and good and bads.

Julie has trouble keeping up with her car keys. It seems like I’ve searched for them for most of our married life. I will never forget — nor will she — the day I found them after a lengthy search, stood over her, shook the keys in her face and angrily yelled, “What am I going have to do?!! Put them on a chain and lock them around your neck?” Then, I’m shamed to admit, I spiked the keys on the floor in front of her toes and stormed out of the room. Not much love there! Ultimately, I confessed and repented and she forgave and we moved past those awful moments. Love is like that.

“Her lungs are filled with fluid,” said the emergency room doctor. “Very little room is left to produce breathable air. Tonight, your daughter may become a statistic. The words sent shivers up my spine and initiated overflowing anger toward Jesus: “How much is enough? When will the onslaughts stop? With all we’ve endured in our lives, if you can’t do any better than this, I’ve about decided that following You isn’t worth it after all!”

I surprised myself. I’d never had so much anger toward Jesus. I’ve had many opportunities for anger but never enunciated them. Every trouble was another opportunity for Jesus to mold me more to look like Him. I had open heart surgery at 13. My doctors made a mistake. My heart was perfect. I’ve had scar-tissue-induced-electrical problems ever since. I know what it’s like to “ride the lightning” as the paddles fired to restart my heart. I no longer have a colon. Three knee operations, several ablations and a back surgery did nothing to impair my love for Jesus. I own a bulletproof vest for protection when preaching. Julie had a nervous breakdown. My first daughter died in my arms. My oldest daughter has suffered with failing lungs for a decade. We do all we can to keep her breathing. Never once can I recall a time when my love for Jesus faltered — until that awful night. I’d had enough.

Asaph’s experience in Psalm 73 helped. He lost his first love and recaptured it. He was angry with God because all of his neighbors were better off than he was. He’d about decided that he’d be just as well without following God.

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; for I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…