I have felt like God has abandoned me many times in my life… for way too painstakingly long. To the point of enough already! No, way beyond enough already!
What I am about to share is not a judgment of anyone’s thoughts or feelings or experience. This is purely mine. This is my journey through this question and my own personal conclusions. Which may not and probably are not many of yours. And that is okay!
I have come to the point in my life on countless occasions of feeling, “Where is God, my God, where is He?”
I can tell you a few of these times: when I lost my father at eight years old; when my mother abandoned me after my father died; when my ex-husband who I thought was a loving person, ended up (even though he was a minister) being abusive and dangerous; when I lost my first full-term live birth baby boy; when I lost my mother; when I lost a second full-term baby girl during labor and delivery (this pushed me over the edge); when I began to face the sexual abuse that went on for years when I was a child; when I experienced the abuse and violation of my pastor and then the abandonment of my church; when I experienced the abuse of a therapist (who happened to be a minister too); when I had a miscarriage and lost a child with my husband (this peeled my fingers off the edge of the cliff I was already clinging to and sent me free falling)… and the rest I will not mention here.
Do I know what it feels like to be abandoned? Yes, by people and by God! I have lived way too long with way too much heartache and suffering, with nothing in life making sense, not people or God seeming to make any sense at all.
At some point I wondered if I could be missing something when looking at this unjust life.
Maybe God doesn’t “do” anything for us. He did give us a body and mind and heart. Maybe He is there to walk beside us through whatever it is we are going through. That doesn’t sound a lot like a “god” in the sense that we usually think of one. But maybe He has already done what He is going to do for us. Maybe life is more about finding out who we are.
Now, do I believe in miracles, yes. But nothing can quite be as miraculous as your child finally making it on their own and thriving without you hovering over their every move, controlling and directing their life. The happiest we could be as parents is for our children to thrive on their own, even through the hardships of life. And, if you think about it, what parent gives their children everything or does everything for them and then we view them as good parents? God is wiser than we are.
Maybe prayer and life isn’t so much about discovering who God is, but who we are at our core. We all believe because He doesn’t seem to answer our prayers the way we want or rescue us from evil that somehow He has abandoned us. When we give up and walk away, who gave up on who?
When I realized this and thought about it in this way, I knew I had to change the only person I could and that was myself and my thoughts about God. Maybe God doesn’t fit into our mold. And if He did, who would be God?
I got to a place, and returned there multiple times in my life, where I would say over and over again to God, “Even if you never help me, even if no on ever comes, even with losing everything I have, I will not give up on You. I will not stop believing in You!”
At the same time I would cry out to God and say, “I have no clue what it is that I need, but please don’t give up on me.” And believe me when I say I felt as though I spent a cruel and unusually long time living in the desert, in desolation. But I refused to give up on my faith and belief in God. This might all sound crazy and I am not anything or anyone special. This is because I knew for myself, in my core, that what I did in these moments said far more about who I am than who God is.
I knew that someday when I had to stand before Him, no matter what else happened in my life, at least He couldn’t say that I gave up on Him. This meant something to me. It said something about me. It made me feel that I had at least done my part even if others or God did not do theirs.
What I am trying to say is, without this tenacity, when good came to me I would have ran away and never looked back. I would have never risked anything. While I felt everything else had been taken away from me, this, my faith, no one could take that. If they had, this is when I felt as though I would have truly lost. Maybe this was a way of feeling on some level as though I won against all odds and against evil. This is something not even God could do for me. And maybe that is the point.
They could all snicker and celebrate taking everything away from me. But they didn’t take my faith. Being loyal to my faith was a way of letting light and love remain in my heart in the midst of darkness. I kept love and light without having any understanding or comprehension of the evil in this world or God’s reaction to it.
My belief and experience is, that no matter what we “see” outwardly in this world, God never gives up on us. It is us who give up on Him. The good news is that He can handle the rejection, I am just not so sure we can! I know I couldn’t!
All of this didn’t change God, but it did change me! And in the end, isn’t that what needed to happen anyway?