You have prayed for years. You have believed for years. You have had faith for years. Still everything in your life continues to spiral down.
You sought God. You gave your life to God. You asked God for guidance. You asked God for provision. And everything falls apart.
You trusted in God's word that he rewards those who diligently seek him. Yet, rather than reward, you received hurt and pain.
Now you are left with your faith shattered. Your heart hurting. Your hope diminished. You feel forsaken by God. Abandoned.
You were confident God would supply your needs...provide solutions...answer your prayers...make a way...give direction...open doors...etc... However, your needs increased. Your problems worsened. Confusion abounded. Doors were closed.
People told you to pray...ask...receive...believe....expect...give...and God would do more in your life than you ever thought, dreamed, or hoped. And what you thought, dreamed, or hoped for did not happen...the very opposite of what you were praying for happened.
Your faith is shattered. Your heart is hurting. Your hope diminished. You feel forsaken by God. Abandoned.
You have read in the Bible that if parents on earth know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more does our Heavenly Father give good gifts to his children. But you watch the children you love, who are seeking God, experience hardship in life that you would never put on your child. And you ask, "God, how could you do this to my child?"
You have been let down by God again and again. Disappointment has set in. Disillusionment has set in. Depression has set in. You ask yourself, "Why believe in God?" Your greatest hope...the God of all hope...has become your greatest source of pain.
Somewhere inside yourself you say, "Believing in God has caused more pain and torment than joy and peace." Yet, you are torn. You know the ultimate hurt, pain, and hopelessness is to have no belief in God at all. So you're torn...to believe in God has caused great pain...not to believe in God will cause even greater pain.
You feel forsaken by the God you love and the God you know loves you. So what do you do?
The Bible records the real-life struggles of believers who have gone before us. It captures the realities of their difficulties, disillusionment, disappointments, and depression. Psalm 22 is one of these real-life captured recordings.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night and am not silent.
These are the words of King David, Israel's greatest King. He is described as a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22, 1 Samuel 13:14).
So here we find a man who has a heart for God, yet who feels forsaken by God. He is in tremendous spiritual and emotional pain. Out of his pain, he cries out to God day and night to find only silence. Nothing from God. Heaven is silent. Day after day he cries out. And day after day, God remains silent. God seems distant. David's pain deepens. His disillusionment deepens. His disappointment deepens. His depression deepens.
You know how this feels. You have a heart for God. You love God. You have given your life to God. Yet, this God you feel tremendous love for is the same God you feel has forsaken you.
You have cried out to God day and night only to find silence. God seems so far away...uncaring...unmoved by your pain. So your pain deepens. Your problems increase. And you finally come to the same place David did...My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why don't you hear me? Why don't you help me? Why don't you help my child?
Part of you feels guilty for admitting this spiritual pain. You feel God is mad at you for thinking he has deserted you. But the other part of you feels you must be honest about how you are feeling. Honest you are.
If there is any comfort for you, David was honest, too. Psalm 22:1-2 captures his honesty.
Jesus was honest, too. From the cross, he uttered the same words that David did...the same words you have...the same words I have...
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
Jesus knows your pain. He knows what it is like to feel forsaken by God. Jesus was fully man. He endured the depths of human pain. Pain so great it felt like God had forsaken him...abandoned him...deserted him. The pain he experienced on the cross was deepened by feeling forsaken by God.
Isn't that how life is? Life is hard. Life is painful. And, in the middle of the pain, we cry out to God...only to find silence. We cry out again and again...only to find silence. He seems far away.
So what do we do? There are no easy answers. But here are a few suggestions:
1. Know you are not alone. There are other people who feel the same way you do. Others who feel forsaken and abandoned by God. You are not alone.
2. Don't go through it alone. Share your feelings with a Christian friend or friends who will not judge you, but love you. Allow them to pray with you and encourage you.
3. Stay involved in your church family. Allow the body of Christ, the family of God, to support you, encourage you, and surround you. Reach out to those in your small group or Bible class.
And remember, I know how you feel, David knows how you feel, but most importantly, Jesus knows how you feel. And with Jesus, and his family of believers, you will make it through this.
A prayer for you.
Father in heaven, I know my friend who is reading this blog feels forsaken by you. He or she feels abandoned. Problems and pain are overwhelming my friend. Disillusionment, discouragement, and depression has set in. He or she has cried out to you day and night only to hear the silence of Heaven. Father, reassure my friend of your love...of your presence. Let my friend know in some small way that you have not forsaken him or her.
In Jesus Name...Amen.
For those who have friends who feel forsaken by God, one of the best things you can do is simply love them, have compassion on them, and do something tangible for them that will communicate God's love. Mobilize your small group or Bible class to help them with specific needs. Rather than share a Bible verse with them, be a Bible verse to them. These practical acts of love and kindness will do more to restore their faith than anything else you could do.
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