What to Do When You Feel God Has Abandoned You
I remember the tears. The days when laughter began to slip away and emotions threatened to unhinge my knowledge of truth.
It was a season in which I felt as though God had abandoned me. Life hadn’t worked out as I had thought it would. I was left in a puddle of emotions and God was nowhere to be found.
Or so I felt …
Have you been there before? In that space and time where the pain is big? Where you cry out to Jesus, and sense only a black wall of silence?
A little over 5 years ago, we arrived home from Bulgaria with our daughter. The battle to bring her home had surpassed 2 years. Our biggest cheerleaders were there to celebrate her homecoming and praise God for answered prayers.
But nothing was as we expected and sadly, celebrating wasn’t even an option. We were left with only one option and that was survival.
Our little girl was not well. Unbeknownst to us, severe trauma had inflicted its ugly wounds into her heart while hidden and untreated physical illnesses were spinning out of control. Emotionally, physically, and mentally she was in a state of emergency. Immediately, the pursuit of healing began.
Specialists, therapists, centers, hospitals, procedures, and testing monopolized our days.
But the most difficult part? Because of what trauma had inflicted upon her brain, our child couldn’t find rest. 24-hour days of hypervigilance. Sleeplessness, high anxiety, and raging consumed the lives of every one of us. She would allow no one in to love her.
The cry of my heart was to make this better for her. For our boys. For my husband. For our marriage. I felt as though I were failing because I couldn’t seem to fix anything.
This is where my emotions began to unhinge my truth.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9 NIV
Feelings are Indicators, Not Truth.
The world misleads us and tells us “Follow your heart” or “Go with your feelings.” But our hearts and our feelings are not stable. They sway with the events of each day. They can mislead us as they vacillate and often walk us into the depths of deception and pain.
Why would we follow what is unstable, inconsistent, and unreliable? Why wouldn’t we instead choose to follow an unchanging Truth? The Truth of God.
As indicators, our feelings point to a deeper wound. We need to acknowledge not only what are feeling, but why we are feeling it. For me, it was anger, fear, and desperation.
I had to get honest with God. Yes, He already knew what laid within the recesses of my heart, but when He says, “Come to Me” (Mt. 11:28), I believe He means in complete transparency. Symbolizing our trust, His love beckons a deep exchange.
As I began pouring out in prayer every gut wrenching emotion in my heart, God began revealing truth.
As I cried “injustice”, He revealed:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine ...” -Isaiah 55:8 NLT
As I poured out my fears for the future, God revealed:
I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. –Isaiah 45:2-3 NIV
As I purged my desperate desire for healing, God revealed:
And going a little farther, He threw Himself upon the ground on His face and prayed saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire. Matthew 26:39 AMP
That season of my life is now just a memory. From the gift of perspective, today I can share hope. I see the work God was doing. I know as He walked along beside me, He collected every tear and gave me just what I needed to take the next step. He brought laughter back and rebuilt our family in a new and better way. I’m quite sure all He put in motion still isn’t visible to me. I may see it yet in the future, but in all honesty, there is much I will never comprehend on this side of the cross.
My feelings tried telling me God had left my side. But the Truth I embraced said God will never leave my side.
So, friends, if you are in that place of hurting. In that place where you feel as though God has left your side. I urge you to continue pursuing deep relationship with Jesus by incorporating these 6 strategies into your everyday life. I promise, a day will come where you will once again feel His presence and see His handiwork.
1. Pray boldly and authentically. Pour out all that lies in the heart.
2. Listen for His answers. Sometimes we speak and do too much, drowning out the subtle voice of Jesus.
3. Praise God for all He is! Gratitude and praise are powerful weapons against pain.
4. Worship Him even when it’s difficult. Maintaining a life of worship keeps our hearts in tune with Him.
5. Read God’s Word keeping it sealed in the heart. Learn of the hope within those pages.
6. Contradict feelings with Truth. Taking every feeling before the Word of God. Rewriting it with the light of His Truth will bring healing and show the traces of God’s hand in each step.
Today, I pray you continue to pursue Him until laughter once again fills your home. And that each time your feelings begin to unhinge the Truth, you stand strong, faithfully reclaiming what is yours. God is for you. He is there with you. And He will never leave you.
Lori Schumaker is an encourager at heart. There was a day not long ago when she prayed that the Lord would break her heart for what breaks His. Her eyes were opened and her soul was stirred – and sweet offerings of encouragement to others became her purpose. This is the focus of her blog, Searching for Moments, found at www.lorischumaker.com. Join her as she walks beside you through the difficult, lovely, and holy moments of this beautiful thing called life. You can also find her here on social media: