November 23, 2018
“For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Psalm 43:2 (NLT)
Several years ago, I felt sure God had forgotten me. My marriage had ended, my heart was destroyed and my mind was in a perpetual state of panic. Overall, my life was a mess.
I was drowning in a sea of difficult circumstances, confusion and pain. With each gasping breath, God seemed farther and farther away. I prayed, but God seemed silent, so my emotions began playing tricks on my mind, causing anxieties and fears to get the better of me. Instead of feeling God’s presence and the strength to trust Him, I felt alone and abandoned in every way. I knew it wasn’t the right way to feel as a Christian, but I felt forgotten by Him nonetheless.
The psalmist in today’s key passage struggled with the same thoughts and emotions as I had … pleading to God, trying to understand why He was letting bad things happen, and why people were hurting him. It seems the psalmist was at the end of his rope as he expressed his true feelings to God, even asking why it seemed God had tossed him aside. He was questioning God’s plans and doubting if He really cared.
Maybe you’re experiencing a season of life right now where you feel the same way: tossed aside, rejected, abandoned, disappointed, unwanted, alone.
Wondering, like the psalmist, if God has forgotten you.
We all experience these feelings at one time or another. Maybe as a little girl or even a grown woman who desperately wishes her daddy would love her, an employee who longs for the approval of her boss, a woman who would give anything if her husband would pay attention to her, or one whose husband has walked away. Maybe you feel forgotten by friends or family during the busy holiday season, and loneliness and painful emotions threaten to steal your joy. But although there are countless reasons for us to feel rejected and abandoned in this broken world, feeling forgotten by a Sovereign God can hurt the most.
When we find ourselves feeling this way, we’re faced with two choices. We can turn away from God in anger and frustration and develop a sour attitude. Or we can allow the words of the psalmist to motivate us to step up in our faith, just as he did.
You see, instead of holding onto anger and distrust of God’s ways, the psalmist chose to recognize God’s sovereignty and sought after Him in the midst of his solitude and confusion. “For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” (Psalm 43:2)
We read this in Psalm 43:3, “Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live.” (NLT) He sought after God, then committed to praise and trust Him no matter what, which is what we read in the next verse, “There I will go to the altar of God, to God — the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!” (Psalm 43:4, NLT)
Despite his heartache and overwhelming emotions, the psalmist remembered God truly was his only help and that GOD was always there, never forsaking him even when it felt like it.
If you’re feeling forgotten, by others or by God, let your hope swell and your joy return by intentionally believing that God will never leave you and is always by your side. Make a commitment to focus on God’s presence and the blessings He’s given you, and let God be the source of your joy.
Dear Lord, I’ve been feeling forgotten and alone in this world, but also by You at times. Sometimes I feel like I’m not important enough for You to care about my troubles or my needs. Forgive me for doubting, and fill my heart with the joy of Your presence. I commit today to seek after You, put my hope in You and praise You even when I’m struggling. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 49:15 “‘Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!’” (NLT)
Jeremiah 31:3, “Long ago the Lord said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.’” (NLT)
Tracie Miles’ newest book, Love Life Again: Finding Joy When Life is Hard, can help you reignite your faith, overcome the doubts of feeling forgotten by God, and reclaim the abundant joy-filled life God wants you to have.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Have I been feeling forgotten or abandoned by God? How has this affected my joy and my faith?
Pause today to look for Scriptures that promise God’s unconditional, never-ending love for you. Let them serve as a reminder of His goodness and sweet motivation to believe that He has not forgotten you and never will. Share your favorites with us in the comments section!
© 2018 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 23 November 2018.