This may sound weird, but I always cringe a little when people say, “Just give it up to God,” or “Let go and let God.” I get what they’re saying and at the 40,000 foot view it’s exactly right. But when people are in crisis, letting go and giving the pain up to God just isn’t that simple.
One of the biggest barriers is the fact that in crisis, someone may actually have lost trust in God, which makes it impossible just to turn around and give your problems to Him. Here’s why.
As Christians, most of us rightly trust God to prosper us and not harm us, and to provide and protect us. That’s what scripture says and that’s what preachers preach. So when something bad happens to us – usually someone doing something bad or even evil where we become the victim – we naturally ask why God didn’t protect us as He said He would. This is a tricky space to live in and one in which it is easy to lose trust or even blame God for our circumstances.
I think intellectually we know that this isn’t true. We know that God did not do anything to us or cause our situation, and that we are where we are because someone acted out in their free will, disobeying God’s commands and hurting us. But emotionally we say to ourselves, “Yes, but God allowed it, so He is someone I can’t trust, because He allows me to get hurt.” This may be especially true when our fallen bodies contract an illness, such as cancer.
Trust – or lack thereof – is a deal breaker. If I can’t trust someone, our entire relationship is off. When we can’t trust God, we tend to push Him out of our lives. We stop talking with Him, we stop relying on Him, we stop listening to Him, and sometimes we even feel betrayed by Him and are angry with Him.
So how do you regain trust with God when you feel as if He’s complicit in your pain?
First, you need to work through intellectually and emotionally that God did not do anything to you. Yes, He allowed something to happen, but just like He can’t take away your free will, He couldn’t take away the free will of the person who transgressed against you. Yes, it sucks, but God didn’t cause the problem, someone else did. Don’t project your pain, disappointment, and emotions against God. Instead, understand who God is in your relationship and follow his instructions to forgive the person who transgressed so that you are not a slave to that person’s actions.
If you’re struggling with the pain of a terminal illness, again understand intellectually and emotionally that this also is not God’s fault, it’s actually man’s fault! When we sinned originally, our perfect bodies became imperfect. We get diseases and die. This was not God’s plan, but happened because of our sin. This also sucks – I didn’t sin originally yet I’m stuck with a sin nature, a fallen body, and the consequences of it all. It just doesn’t seem fair, but it is what it is and it’s not God’s doing. We have to get to a place in our lives where we accept this fact.
Second, look back over your life and see where God was at various times. Write it down and see how God’s hand works in your life. I think you will see that God never abandoned you – even in the worst circumstances – and that instead He walked by your side every step of the way. If you see that, you can understand that He’s doing it now, too, even when you’re mad at Him. Nobody can every snatch you from His hand and He will always love you.
Third, it helps if you realize how much God trusts you! See, God knew you before the beginning of the world. He knew everything you would do, every sin you would commit, every knuckleheaded decision you would make yet He still created you on purpose! He trusts you to be in relationship with Him. He trusts you with your free will to make good decisions. And He trusts you that you will come to Him when you screw up and make it right. Scripture tells us that we love because God first loved us. I would propose that we can trust God because he first trusted us.
Lastly, you have to get over yourself. It’s not about you. You may be hurting so you are a little self-focused, defensive, and scared of being hurt again. But the creator of the universe – the God of the heavens and the Earth – wants to have a relationship with you! He wants to help heal you! He wants to be by your side and get you through this! Stop being a brat and go to the one person who actually can keep His promise and ease your suffering! Let’s admit it, we sometimes like wallowing in our pain. Some even like being the victim, because of all the attention they get. It’s time to grow up a bit and focus on God instead of ourselves. When our hearts are broken we need to go to the person who created our hearts. When our souls are in distress, we need to go the person who gave us our souls. But we can’t do that when we are focused on ourselves. I tell people in crisis, “Look up, don’t look down.” God is your answer not your enemy.
I hope I’m not that guy telling people to give it up to God or to let go and let God. But I do hope I’m that person telling folks that God is not the problem here, He is the solution.
I read this and it’s like a broken record. What’s sad is that I’ve given the same tired advice! And it’s tired! Come on! God is in charge. He can do anything he wants. He doesn’t have to take away someone’s free will, but he can do a better job at the helping the victims. And when I look back on my life I realize I only received his table scrapps while some of the same people who destroyed my life was given more and more gifts and power to continue their destruction! There’s so many people who have lost their faith because we can’t give them better advice than what I’m reading here and it’s the same tired advice. As Christians we must do better because I for one can see obvious flaws in the repeats of these, “God is good all the time,” words. You just have to look at the current state of the world then look at history. Heck, read the Bible without personal or organized religion biased interpretation. I’ll never say I don’t believe in God, but as someone who has lived her entire life dependant on God only to finally see at age 45 that my life is worse (and when I look back on my life and all those times I rejoiced over my “blessings” only for those exact blessings to lead me further into the hole) one gets lost. When you do your best to do what’s right and you look around you and you see so many people struggling trying to do what’s right only for the cruelty of the powerful to block them, you run out of Bible text to justify these things. And compared to many others’, my life is just complicated. Why must God allow the rest of the suffering? Your words do not justify the evils of this world growing more powerful and God doing nothing. I know you are only doing your best. That’s all we can do. But, these words are wearing thin. When one feels betrayed by God, one needs more than empty promises because it’s the empty promises that lead to the feeling of betrayal. Thank you for your time.
Thanks for your heart-felt comment. Just a couple thoughts – God’s ways are not our ways so how we see things may not be how God sees them. Yes, tired old Christian dogma but still true. Also, Satan is the prince of this world so what do we expect? Our job as Christians is to shine the light of Christ in a VERY dark world, which is why we are told that our weapons are not the same as the worlds, but instead we use love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Certainly, we all fail at this! But God is good – we aren’t. God allows what He allows and I have no idea why. I actually would disagree that you run out of Bible text to justify things – God doesn’t answer to man, it’s the other way around so the Bible – God’s word – is good enough. Life can suck – if you read my bio you’ll know I’ve been there, done that, and have the t-shirt. But, I’ve never lost my faith because I believe that God is good and He knows what He’s doing even when I don’t understand it or even agree with it.
Thank you for your note! I get it. But I also know that if your honest and review the events of your life that most of what happens to us is not God’s fault but the actions of people. We suffer the consequences of our own actions. We suffer the consequences of other’s actions. Sometimes we are just innocent bystanders and get creamed! Sometimes life is a crap sandwich. Believe me, I’ve eaten my share!! But, that isn’t an indictment about God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, which means my “tired” advice is actually eternal advice. This whole thing we live isn’t about us; it’s about Jesus. Rain falls on the righteous and unrighteous alike. Our job is to keep the faith, do the work the Lord planned for us before the beginning of time, and keep our eyes on heaven. I’m not going to blow sunshine up your you-know-what; sometimes life sucks. And for some, their entire life sucks. But ask yourself this question: what does that have to do with eternity? Man has free will and uses it in rebellion to God, fighting wars, oppressing each other, harming each other and even worse! God told us plainly that when sin entered the world the entire creation fell so we live in a broken world whose “prince” is Satan himself. But again, that has nothing to do with eternity. God tells us that He will dry every eye, heal us, and perfect us in heaven. AND…in this crappy world, Jesus is the only hope we have! So, I’ll continue to be a broken record with tired advice about who God is because He’s always the same. Look, the Bible doesn’t justify anything; what it says is that men are evil, Jesus had to die to pay the penalty for their sin, and those who don’t want that free gift of grace will justice with face eternal separation from God. Not sure that elevates any of the pain you’re feeling, but I wanted to respond to your thoughts, which I very much appreciate you sharing!
I am a practicing Christian and I love God immensely. I was surfing the web to find out how to come to terms with heart breaking loss and be able to move on a trust God again as my best friend just had a still born baby recently. I have to say, your write up with all due respect has such a lack of feeling because clearly you haven’t been thru heart breaking loss. God is powerful enough to love us when we are goi g thru our angry depressed lives. We don’t need people to tell us we are being a brat and making it about ourselves coz God would never ever say that to us. He was so broken by Mary and Martha’s raw emotions when Lazarus died that he broke him back from the dead. If you have not been thru loss and cannot be more deep and thoughtful I. Your advice don’t speak about this subject please. You are not helping people in their grief find God but instead speaking words of hurt and shame on them.
Roshni – I’m sorry for your suffering. Actually, though, you are wrong about what I’ve been through. I grew up in 12 different homes – my dad was in and out of jail my entire youth and my mother had MS and was bedridden for 20 years before she died. I only saw her every several years. I suffered physical and emotional abuse and neglect in my own home and foster care. Then I suffered with the results of that abuse in the form of PTSD and more. I get suffering more than most. That said, I believe in God’s healing more than I do any temporal suffering. Scripture is clear on this as Paul write in Romans 8:18, ” I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” We also are told to rejoice in all circumstances (1 Thes. 5:16) as well as to rejoice in suffering of all kinds (Romans 5:3-5). I spent a lot of years fighting God on this stuff. How could He allow my mother to suffer as she did when she did nothing wrong? How could I get abused the way I was when I did nothing wrong? Why was my family separate time and time again when we did nothing wrong? Hard questions to be sure, but God has an answer that you may not like: God uses all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Again, I am sorry for your pain, but be a bit careful making assumptions about people you don’t know – everyone has their pain but God is bigger than all of it. Blessings to you.
Thanks this actually helped me alot.
What I’ve been going through is a bit different, more like internal mental torture; but still ended up in the same place of lack of trust. like you mentioned I knew in my mind that I should love God but my heart was afraid to trust God again. I kept getting the “look up” speach till I kind of started scoffing and stopped praying. I honestly entered a state of not caring because I thought, “what’s the sense if the enemy seems more present than God?” It seemed like the devil was more in charge or at least bothered to harass me than God. How could I trust God to not like it felt like one of his most basic promises to never leave me alone was broken?
But this has helped level my head somewhat going to come back and read it ever so often.
Thank you again.
Thanks for the note and glad the blog helped a little. It’s tough – the devil attacks and attacks and attacks and it seems as if God is nowhere to be found sometimes. But here’s a thought: When you read the book of Job you realize that what God really did was choose Job as His champion. He pitted Job against the devil and basically told Satan, “Job’s my guy – all the house money is on him!” God trusted Job completely to keep the faith – his only task – no matter what Satan did to him. And God was right. You may feel like Job sometimes but that just means that God has chosen you as His champion and all you have to do to win the fight is keep the faith no matter what Satan does to you. God trusts you that much. Just a thought!
You say we can look back and make a list of times we were blessed? Ok, so there were a few times, but they pale in comparison to the suffering. Looking back I see that each of His betrayals was worse than the last. Since that number is large, that means His betrayals are becoming enormous. I trusted Him because I was told to. And I always give my trust when I first meet a person, so that’s what I did with God. But, once that trust is broken, it is up to that person, or in this case, God to regain that trust. The first time I give freely, after that you have to prove yourself to be worthy of being trusted again. Given God is supposed to know everything through all time, He sure doesn’t understand this fundamental truth. I try to talk to Him, but He doesn’t respond. I try to live as closely to the way my grandfather (a minister) lived (he’s the most Jesus like many I’ve ever known), but it doesn’t matter. The rest of my family is a nearly perfect example of achieving the American dream of wealth, stable family, and happiness with little to complain about. Me? A complete 180 degrees. It’s so bad, there’s sort of a running joke that if something bad happens in our family, it must be me. Why am I treated so differently if God has no favorites? Continue with your predictable but wholly ineffective responses, it changes nothing. If God isn’t with you, you’re just toast. He could change everything in a heartbeat and chooses not to. That says all I need to know about His character. It’s on Him at this point. If He really wants a relationship and will truly leave the 99 to seek out the 1, where the heck is He? Just another false promise. How can you say God is all good when He knows every suffering that we will endure before we are even born? The only answer is He gets some sort of positive emotion out of our suffering. If He didn’t, He’d end it immediately. God is just mean.
Jeff – I’m so sorry to hear the pain in your note. So, no platitudes from me. Only this: When you look at God betraying you was it really God or was it someone acting out their free will in a way that harmed you? Was it really God or was it the consequences of your own actions? Was it really God or was it Satan oppressing you? When I read your note the first thing that came to my mind was, “I think he only learned part of the Bible – the part that says if you’re good you get good.” There is a heckuva lot more in there about suffering. David complains that the unrighteous prosper while the righteous suffer. Peter, Paul, John, and James all write about the righteous suffering. Why? As Jesus said, we will have trouble in this world because Satan is the prince of this world. I say this as someone who has suffered. I grew up in 12 different homes, was abused in my own home and in the various foster homes. I was homeless as a kid and adult, didn’t have food, was abandoned, and suffer from C-PTSD due to it all. I’ve had evil people do evil things to me. I’ve suffered the consequences of my own stupid actions. And like you I was pissed at God for it all for a long time until I realized He didn’t do it. Others were responsible for the outcomes in my life – not God. All Jesus wanted to do was help me but like you I pushed Him away because I was too busy blaming Him instead of turning to Him and trying to understand what role He actually wanted to play. Took me 40 years to really truly understand that. It’s okay to be mad at God. It’s okay to even yell at Him. But keep talking with Him even if you’re not hearing back – He hears you but perhaps isn’t going to respond unless you soften your heart enough to actually listen to what He has to say. I know – I’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.
The assertion you make in the beginning of your response misses its mark. There are some things I’ve done that were certainly my fault, and I’ve always accepted that responsibility. As for the Bible, I have always understood that suffering was a major component of God’s “plan”. My grandfather was a minister who never sugar coated things.
But the worst things that have happened to me were perpetrated by someone else or by God Himself. When it came to answering my prayer or the competing prayer of someone else, I always lose. And several times God has allowed things to happen out of the blue for no apparent, and certainly no worthy, reason. Nothing, I repeat, nothing happens without God’s approval. So we can blame “others” all you want, but if God didn’t approve it, it wouldn’t have happened. That makes Him at least equally responsible. But God never has to be responsible because He just argues “free will”, which is a hoax in a relationship in which He can never be surprised, the key element in any definition of free will.
What I would like is a bit of balance. Is that really unreasonable? Or is it unreasonable to want to enjoy the same kind of life the rest of my family gets to live?
And I’m unwilling to absolve a God, who knows all things through all time and is all-powerful, from responsibility for the lives of those He created. If I make a clay pot with an obvious hole in it, is it the pot’s fault that it fails? God created me, so He knew exactly what every moment of my life would be. And He allowed all of it and wants to call it good and have me praise and worship Him for it? You would think God would know that doesn’t work with me. His actions have permanently damaged me spiritually to such a degree that I’m no longer sure that even He could ever repair it. If He thinks that my heart will soften without Him taking the initiative with definitive actions to reach out to me and allow me to experience some of the “good”, then I have to wonder if He really has any clue about who I am.
Oh, and while I certainly sympathize with what you experienced, that is not justification for what God allows. Just because others suffer does NOT make it right.
Good Morning, Jeff,
Thanks for your clarification and sharing your heart on this. To be honest, I have certainly felt the same way. My mom had MS and was bedridden right after she had me. Never really had a mom in that she was pretty much in nursing homes and then died in one when I was 20. My dad was in an out of jail my entire life. I asked the VERY same questions you do when all that was happening, “What did my mom or I do to deserve this?” If Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world it couldn’t be punishment for sin because that was taken care of. So, what is the deal? Did God just hate us? Did God just hate me for no reason? In my early to mid 20s I was extremely damaged emotionally and mentally from the experience. I claimed Jesus but my life looked nothing like it. Pretty much lived as I wanted to live – sex, drugs, and rock and roll!
You are ABSOLUTELY correct that nothing happens without God’s authority so it’s not like before the beginning of the world when He decided to make you and me that He didn’t know what would happen to us. But you’re also right about free will and I would argue that not really a hoax. The way I see it is God gives people free will but you only have one of two choices to really make: Follow Him or Don’t Follow Him. Every other thing you do flows from that choice. So, when I wasn’t really following Him regardless of what I said, I self-medicated with drugs and alcohol, I was emotionally abusive to women, I was constantly angry, I HATED people, I had both suicidal and homicidal ideation, and was pretty much just an ass-hat. Like you, I never really thought I could break from that. My relationship with God was this: God would knock me down and to spite Him I’d get back up!
So, how did it change? God continued to break me until I was completely broken and had no where else to turn and when I turned I was angry with God and let Him know about it. Jacob wrestled with God and I always tell people it’s okay to be mad at God and wrestle with Him. It’s okay to yell at Him and tell Him how you really feel. It’s not like He doesn’t know. When I did it God finally responded which changed everything – not all at once but started the process.
I’m groping in the dark a bit with our conversation because I don’t know what you see that God actually did to you in tangible terms. I feel as if you don’t believe He’s answered your prayers and that is important! But do you feel He actually reached out and smote you in some way? Did He punish you in your mind? Was it discipline or unwarranted?
Thanks for continuing the conversation. I hope you don’t feel I’m being too inquisitive.
I appreciate your efforts. As for the free will, you cannot convince me. God has always known EXACTLY which decision we would make. That isn’t free will, it’s following His design. He knows when you’ll make bad decisions and He knows when others will cause you grief. He knows every single one of those infinite number of decisions, but just sits on His throne and lets us suffer. That’s HIS decision.
I’m a bit different than you in that though I had my period of self-medicating my depression and anger, I was ALWAYS a nice guy to everyone else. I helped the hungry. I went into teaching when I most people said that was a waste of my talents. I often put aside my needs for the needs of others. I wasn’t a saint, but I was never as you say, “an ass-hat”. Evidently, that isn’t one of the considerations taken into account by God. Good, bad, indifferent, it seems it’s all the same. If you win the luck lottery, you get a great life, even if your a mean-spirited narcissist. Lose that luck lottery and it doesn’t matter how good you are (or how faithful you are for that matter), you’re screwed.
It’s time for God to realize that you can do more than break a person, you can destroy them. Even gold can be destroyed if you heat it to too high a temperature. And, if God knows us so well, how is it He doesn’t know that I’m far too stubborn to ever give in to this approach? It’s a matter of standing for what is right. For me, it’s a righteous stand.
And I don’t worry about whether God cares whether I’m angry at him. I know He can handle it and already is aware. And even if He doesn’t like it? Too freaking bad for Him. I’ve been angry at Him for most of the last 44 years. I’ve been BEYOND angry at Him for the last 16 years when He rewarded my return to the fold by putting me through even worse crap than before. That’s the reward for trying to become close to Him? Screw that. He hasn’t had a single dang word to say to me in those 16 years. Now it’s personal. I want to hear from Him DIRECTLY!!! As far as I’m concerned He’s a coward for being unwilling to meet me “face to face”.
As for why? I haven’t a clue. I was praising and worshiping Him, sacrificing what I wanted so I could be a father to my daughters (in a town I hated for the entire 18 years I was there) and working hard to fix problems from the past and giving time to others (like running the church food bank). So, what the heck did I do wrong? The fact is that God has ALWAYS treated me like He hates me. It started when I was only 13 and has gone on almost continuously since. How is that warranted? So, you tell me, because God doesn’t have the balls to tell me Himself.
Sorry for the delay. Was on the go yesterday from 6 a.m. until about 10 p.m. last night.
The free will question is a real bear! Here’s how I look at it. Ever see a toddler walk around? Imagine the kid running around the living room and you just know that he’s going to trip and hit his head on the coffee table. You tell the kid to slow down and be careful – several times! But he just looks at you with that little demonic smile they get as if saying “Pack sand! I’ll do what I want!” So the kid just keeps running and around and sure enough – BANG – he trips and hits his head on the coffee table.
You absolutely knew that was going to happen but did you cause it? Nope, the kid did because he didn’t listen and chose to do it his own way.
That’s how I see God and free will. God absolutely knows what we’re going to do but He doesn’t cause it. He warns us! But we don’t listen. So, it is determinism – we really have no choice in the matter because God knows? I don’t feel that way. I think I can make any decisions I want – God just knows what it will be but He’s not causing that decisions just because He knows.
I feel bad for you my friend! Sounds like you’ve had a VERY rough life and your spirit is crushed. I would only share this: God doesn’t hate you because it would be outside his character to do so. Why He’s allowed what He has allowed I have no idea. Why He hasn’t responded to you in a way that meets you where you need Him to meet you I also don’t know because I just don’t know enough about your history. But I’m going to pray like crazy that God reveals all this to you so at least you get some answers. The not knowing is painful.
Wish I could be more encouraging to you. But I’m still going to try!!
Let me start by saying I appreciate this exchange of thoughts. One of the worst parts of all this is that so many in the church either can’t handle the idea that someone’s relationship with God isn’t perfect, or they can’t handle it when their pat answers don’t solve my problems. So they prefer to just ignore it and pull away.
As for free will, let me use a different analogy. If as a parent I know that my young child is going to ride their tricycle into the middle of the highway and don’t do anything to prevent it, how do I justify that? I know what will happen, I know the deadly consequences, but hey, they have free will. As you say, “I didn’t cause it”. I warned him. I lectured him. But hey, I didn’t cause it and the kid has free will, so I’m absolved of responsibility? Yeah, try making that in a court argument.
Why is it seen as absolutely outside God’s character to hate? Doesn’t that limit God, a God who is without limits? And it seems to me that there are a least a couple of instances where God directly says He hates something. And who needs to “hate” when you allow someone you love, maybe more than any other person on Earth, one He Himself calls a man without fault, to suffer just to proof a point to Satan? Of course I’m talking about Job and I personally consider that the most immoral act in the entire Bible. It’s despicable and, I’m sorry, but cannot be justified for any reason.
I appreciate the fact your committing to pray for me. However, I have dozens of people who have been praying for me, some for decades, and they haven’t been successful either. God’s purpose for me seems to be sort of like Job, to make me suffer as some sort of message to others that “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, without explanation” and your going to like it, and praise me for it, and worship me for it, or this could be you too! Clearly, He does NOT understand me or He would know that will never work to “bring me back” because I will never allow that to be successful because it’s a repugnant attitude and way of conducting yourself as God.
You have much higher esteem for the character of God than I do. I believe IN Him, but I don’t believe He is who He says He is. Talk is cheap. Text is cheap. Sermons are cheap. What really matters is what you do. If I beat my kids day in day out and allow them to be abused by others, and turn around and tell them I love them, would you believe it? I’d be thrown in prison, but God, because He is God can do it without repercussions? Sorry, even God has to be held accountable for His actions. The only way I can hold Him accountable is to challenge Him and refuse to praise and worship behaviors that aren’t worthy of praise and worship.
Like you, I appreciate the conversation! I wasn’t always a pastor; I came to it later in life. I was out of the church for 25 years because of all the hypocrisy I saw growing up. Like someone once said, I love Jesus but Christians I can do without! Unfortunately the church has become a place where conformity is king. Personally, I like the messy stuff hence the ministry Heavy, Deep and Real. What you are experiencing is REAL and honestly not different than a lot of people I walk with. I’m a guy that understand that stuff; I don’t shy away from it; I actually lean into it. Your thoughts on God have no bearing on our friendship!
That said, you’re right, I have a higher esteem for God than you may. The reason I say it would be against His character to hate you is your are His creation, made in His image, with His breath of life in you. It would be like you hating one of your kids. Now, you may not be happy with the kid; the kid may make you want to stick a pencil in your eye at times! But you never hate them no matter how crazy they make you. God’s the same way with you!
Have you ever read C.S. Lewis’ book The Problem of Pain? If not it may be something to look into. You may not agree with him but Lewis is an interesting guy in that he was a staunch atheist who came to the conclusion he was wrong and then became a great apologist. If you’d like, I can send you a copy – here’s my email to send your address privately: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yeah, I also get that everyone is praying for you and it’s not working…as far as you know! But realize the good part of this prayer thing: People pray for you because they care for you so you must have a bunch of folks that love you, care about you, and want the best for you. That, my friend, is a good thing!
Be blessed today –
I’m impressed by your effort. My stubborness turns off most people. When I believe I’m right, I’m hard to sway. I wonder who made me that way?
As for the hate issue, many parents claim to love their children but treat them with absolute hatred. You can say anything you want, but as I said, it’s what you do that matters. God can tell me all He wants how much He loves me, but His actions clearly say otherwise. And there are actually parents who hate their children.
I’ve never read Lewis’ book, but I’ve read dozens of others of the same genre. But if you like you can send me a copy of the book. I’m always open, it just takes more than anyone has had to offer yet to convince me God is a God of good.
And needing the prayers of dozens of others reminds me a bit of junior high, when you liked a girl but we’re too nervous to talk to her, so you had others do it for you. It’s actually pathetic. And that’s kind of how I see God’s lack of communication with me. He wants me to listen to everyone else and believe He cares, but He can’t bring Himself to do it directly. Except He’s not listening to them either. And that’s pathetic, not Godly.
I know this is over a year later but I do hope you get this message. You sure do blame God for a lot. I am going to be a little more hard hitting than the pastor here. You obviously are painting the picture that you were acting like the perfect saint waiting for God to hold up to His end of the bargain. Maybe you were. I don’t know you. Yet it seems to me you have expectations that God won’t let bad things happen to you. To which I must laugh. Where was he? He was right beside you waiting for you to trust him no matter what. He was waiting for you to tell the true ass-hat…Satan to go take a flying leap off a short pier. He was waiting for you to realize that he was indeed trying to break you. But not out of hate. Out of love. Because for some reason, you are holding on to a lot of anger. Not just to him but to others. You are holding on to the notion that works will get God to bend to your will. But when have you bent to God’s will and chosen to trust him DESPITE the circumstances you saw in your life? When have you chosen to trust that there really is a good, loving reason for God to let you go through all this? That maybe, just maybe he is trying to grow your character? Have you considered that he is waiting for you? He is waiting for you to choose to do good…yes…God’s will? Regardless of the evil being done to you? That He is waiting for you to love Him for Him…not for what he can He could\should\will do for you? He wants a relationship with you. But he wants you to love him for HIM. Not out of obligation. Not because you can get something from Him. Yes! He let these things happen to you. GET OVER IT! I am saying this with all the love in my heart. Because God has a VERY good reason why. And He doesn’t answer to you. BuT He will walk with you if you let it. He will meet you where you are at. But not until you open your hard heart and let him speak. You see:He WAS speaking… but YOU were NOT listening. So please stop letting your ego tell you its all about you. Tell Satan to go jump off a pier. He is dictating your anger. Stop listening to him. THAT is what God is waiting for.
You’re right about one thing: I am angry at God. But, no, I have never expected a perfect life or to get through with no problems. And I have never considered myself a saint, not by a long shot. All I’ve prayed for is some BALANCE. And I have NEVER said it’s all about me. In fact, I have the same feelings watching others suffer. He had the absolute authority to create a world without it, and chose not too. That was His choicee, not mine.
I spent years telling Satan to get away. But apparently, God wasn’t willing to stand in WITH me. If He was “right beside” me, so what? It doesn’t matter if He’s beside me if He sits there and watches me get my *** kicked, now does it?
I had trust in God at one point. But then He allowed things that not only were hurtful, but they literally destroyed the person I was. I am not nearly as good a person now as I used to be. I spent most of my life doing for others with little concern for myself and without seeking recognition. I understand works aren’t an important thing. And my philosophy is I’ll trust anybody at first glance since I have no reason not to. However, if you lose my trust through your actions or inaction, then it is YOUR responsbility to earn that trust back. God treated me in ways that caused me to not trust Him anymore. That’s on Him, so it’s HIS responsiblity to earn that trust back. And circumstances matter! I’m tired of hearing how “suffering” can lead to growth and improvement. I’ve never had anything even remotely resembling a positive outcome from suffering. It has always destroyed me. So glad He’s on my side! And as for His “will” for my life? He’s NEVER bothered to share even a single piece of information about what that is. So how am I supposed to pursue it?
Nothing in my life indicates that God loves me. If He does, can He love me a little less? He’s the one who hardened my heart. He did that to Pharoah if you remember. Pharaoh wanted to do the right thing but it was GOD who made Him continue to defy Him. And God is good? Seriously? Have you looked at what He allows in this world? He has ABSOLUTE authority over everything and is the creator of EVERYTHING, good and bad. He doesn’t get to take credit for the good, but not for the bad.
I even believed some of what you say about God’s purpose and all that stuff. No more. There is NO benefit to allowing what He’s allowed in my life. The only thing it’s done is drive me AWAY from Him.
We didn’t have a choice to be born, yet we’re the one’s to blame for everything? He knows every single second of eternity before it ever happened. He knew exactly what was going to happen to me before He created me. What does that say about His character? If as a parent I know my toddler is going to walk out on to the highway and do nothing to prevent it? I’d be in prison. Yet, because He’s God He gets a free pass? Had I been given a choice, I would have declined the offer to live on Earth. Why should I suffer for His choice?
As for God not answering to me? Fine, that’s probably true. But I’m the one that has to live this miserable life….and I get no say in the matter? Everyone keeps saying He has a purpose, even for the evil. Sorry, not buying. Unless His purpose was to drive me away (which He did at least a couple of times in the Bible), He has utterly failed because I have no more interest in anything He may want, because EVERYTHING has brought pain and suffering. If He was human, not only would I not be friends with Him, I might punch Him in the nose.
You seem to think God is waiting for me. Maybe, maybe not. But wouldn’t He have known for eternity that I would never respond positively to the amount of suffering He allowed? It’s just ridiculous. If He’s waiting, He’ll be waiting forever, unless He wants to make at least some improvements in how He treats me. So, not to be rude, but your self-rightesousness and “love” just don’t really mean much.
Jeff, I agree with you. To blame “free will” is a cop out and we also know that throughout history God has overridden man’s free will on a thousands of occasions so that dog won’t hunt. God is responsible for the good and bad. Isaiah 45:7 is very clear. “I create light and darkness, happiness and sorrow. I, the Lord, do all this.”
For some God blesses them abundantly…think Abraham. Others God neglects and then dismisses your pain by the “my ways are not your ways…” excuse.
The bottom line is God says in Jeremiah 32:37 ““I am the Lord, the God of every person on the earth. Nothing is impossible for me.” That means that if God was willing He could make your circumstances better and still accomplish His plans. He’s God He can do anything. Therefore the only thing we can conclude is our pain, grief, sorrow, suffering, and hardships are of no importance to Him. God can’t have it both ways…to say He can do anything and then say well Jeff and Steve this is the “only way “ I can accomplish my will. That would mean God is limited and we know that is not the case. How can any pastor reconcile these facts? If they’re honest they will admit they have no answers.
It’s like taking a trip cross country. You can fly first class in the lap of luxury, you can drive, you can take a bus, or you can walk. Each method gets us to the same place, but we all can agree one method is superior to all. Some people God flys first class. Others God forces to walk and then He breaks your leg half way through the trip and then says don’t grumble or complain and don’t ask why Joe and Sue were given the first class flight. Now you’re being covetous. Pastors also try and excuse the different levels of blessings by saying oh but He’s with you in your difficult journey. If He refuses to act then His presence if meaningless. For example if you and I were walking together and you were jumped by 5 thugs and you cry out to me for help and instead of helping I choose to say…oh I’m with you buddy…I will never leave your or forsake you….You’re too ignorant to understand my mighty plans and mysterious ways so suck it up and take the beating. You would question whether our friendship is legitimate. A true friend would rescue you.
And for the record God has destroyed me. If I made a list of all the terrible things He has done you probably wouldn’t even believe everything. And it’s not my circumstances…it’s how God has acted in my circumstances. I look back and see nothing but neglect and indifference. No one can deny it.
Thanks for your note. I’ve been corresponding with Jeff privately and would like to do so with you as well – send me an email to email@example.com if you’d like to continue this conversation!
If God allows suffering caused by physical sickness and defects, He is ultimately responsible for it. If you stand on the sideline and do nothing when you could have intervened, you’re still guilty.
When God allows suffering in the form of sickness, physical and genetic defects, he is ultimately responsible for it. I didn’t cause my defects, and I cannot believe it is my own fault because of Adam’s disobedience way back when. How is it fair or just that one man’s sin affects the whole human race?
Can I trust, pray to, worship, obey and serve a God who only brings me suffering? I don’t know, but I feel like I’m better off on my own!
I needed to hear this today. I have a chronic illness and a beloved child who is struggling with infertility, and these things are just the tip of the iceberg in my life right now. I have always loved and trusted God, but lately, I am struggling with the trust and I am angry with God that He would allow this. Thank you for telling me to get over myself….that tough love is necessary and very much appreciated. Just what I needed to hear, and I thank God also, for bringing me right here, to read it.
Sorry it’s a rough patch for you. Let me know if you need to talk or just vent!
P.S…. I just ordered your book.
I guess you never read the Book of Job. God instigated that event with Satan. Had nothing to do with individual choice. And God indeed was responsible.
Actually, I’ve written pretty extensively about Job. Don’t remember what I called those blogs or sermons but if you’re interested, I’m sure you can find them on the site.
I stumbled on this website while googling how to trust in God again when one has lost faith.
Please remove this dumb waste-of-time blog that’s supposed to be “heavy deep real”.
You’re out here telling desperate people who are sad and depressed and looking for help, to stop being a brat? And then when people leave you comments saying your write up lacks feelings, you get all defensive and lost all the horrible things you have had to endure – and still do not address the fact that you are calling people brats for losing their faith.
I’ve contemplated suicide at least 4 times just tonight alone, and people like you make me sick. Thi article doesn’t help anyone looking for an answer.
Not sure your name but sorry you found my blog unhelpful. However, it wasn’t written for someone in your situation. Your situation is quite desperate. If you are suicidal you need to call the suicide hotline at 9-8-8 or go to the emergency room. When you feel hopeless, not much a guy like me writes is going to make much of a difference. What you need in those moments is real relationship with a live person talking with you about how you feel and working with you in partnership to get through the crisis.
Your note said that you thought about suicide 4 times that night. I suspect (could be wrong) that this isn’t the first time you’ve felt that way.
Christians feel suicidal just like non-Christians. There is no magic wand on this kind of thing. The difference is as Christians we have a God that is bigger than us, has plans for us, and wants us alive on this earth to do what He created us to do. In other words, there is purpose…even to the pain you feel.
If you have deep depression spirals that lead you to thinking about suicide then you may want to consider therapy that helps you stop the spirals before they get to that point.
If you want to talk just let me know!
What about those that God doesn’t bring us through our trials, He leaves us in them and they one get worse? Those of us who God never helped, God only worked thing out even worse than before we went to Him? Those of us who God has rejected in eve way? Ever prayer? I can’t think of one thing or one time where what I trusted God with didn’t turn out worse than I could ever imagine? In every aspect of my life, it’s been a living Hell turning to God for 40 plus years. How can you ever trust the one who only wants your worst nightmare for you?
I’m so sorry to hear about your experiences. If you want to talk more about it send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can do a deeper dive.