Having been awakened with faith, having zeal, being baptized, and experiencing divine grace, God then hides grace from us, Saint Theophan tells us. This is a most common experience for all serious Christian faithful who seek union with God. It seems that as soon as we have His grace, it is gone. It comes and then leaves. Why is this most sublime feeling allowed to leave us? It seems as if God abandons us.
When this happened to me I felt betrayed, after all, I had accomplished a great thing through my spiritual efforts. Yes, I was proud. If it had stayed with me, this pride would only have grown and I would have remained complacent. But when it left, what did I do? I sought help and was guided to work hard to uncover my deep hidden sinfulness. This involved things everyone else knew about me, but were hidden from my own self-awareness. I gave up my old ways of seeking an spiritual experience through the eastern meditation practice I had long practiced. I started anew in my spiritual path becoming obedient to my spiritual father. Glory be to God for this!
This is why this withdrawal happens. Initially we are encouraged by the experience of His grace, but we still have great pride and need to be humbled. After this initial encouragement, this withdrawal leeds us to further growth through a processes of purifying our heart.