Have you ever felt that you were abandoned by God?
If I am honest, the answer to that question for me is a resounding yes. There is a certain amount of shame that is associated with my answer to that question, but the truth is that there have been times, as recent as a few years ago that I felt that God had abandoned me. I am a person that believes in God and has never doubted the existence of a Higher Power. I am a Christian. But there have been circumstances in my life were I have felt so alone and abandoned by everyone…even by God.
There has been so much emotional pain and so much loss that I have experienced, and in those times, I have wondered if God has forgotten me. After all, He has so many other important things to deal with, does He really have the time to walk with me through my pain? And if He was really so close, should I really be feeling this pain at all?
But consider this:
“The healing begins…when we see our pain, not as separating us, but connecting us with our Maker (Bell, 2007).”
When I first heard this statement, I was pissed off and intrigued at the same time. How in the world can our pain connect us with God? I feel farthest away from God when I’m in pain. But then I thought about it for a moment and realized that it’s in those moments of pain that I yearn to know God the most. So the idea that our pain could connect us with God was parallel to life: ambiguous and ambivalent.
I’ve heard it referred to as a “crisis of faith.”
“A crisis of [faith] belief is not a calamity in your life but a turning point where you must make a decision. You must decide what you truly believe about God (Blackaby, Blackaby & King, 2007).”
I like that Blackaby says that we must decide “what” we believe about God, and not that we believe in God. At the point that I think God has abandoned me, I have to first believe that my Higher Power loves me. Then I have to make the decision to believe that a loving Higher Power would never abandon me. Or I could make the decision to believe that God would abandon me. It’s my choice.
This is easier said than done when you are in the midst of challenging circumstances or emotional pain. But it may help us to know that we are not “alone” in our crisis. It is reported that one of God’s most faithful servants, Mother Theresa, had a crisis of faith at a certain time in her life.
Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.
— Mother Teresa to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet, September 1979
Whether or not you want to admit it, a crisis of faith is something that many of us go through. Even the most unlikely people.
One of my favorite books in the Bible is the book of Psalms because when I read certain passages, it gives me comfort when I am fighting depression. I recently came across Psalm 13, which resonated with me in so many ways:
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1-O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?
2-How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
3-Turn and answer me, O LORD my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
4-Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
5-But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
6-I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me. (New Living Translation)
You can hear the desperation in David’s words, his crisis of faith is blatantly clear. But in a moment, he makes a decision to not be abandoned by God when he says:
“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.”
Freedom of choice is a beautiful thing.
- Bell, R. (2007). Sex God. Audiobook. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
- Blackaby, H., Blackaby, R., & King, C. (2007). Experiencing God: Knowing and doing the will of God. Nashville, TN: Lifeway Press.