If this hasn’t happened to you yet, it’s only because you haven’t lived long enough: regardless of your religious beliefs, there will be a time (maybe for a very long season) when you find yourself in agonizing pain and you feel completely alone and helpless. Maybe you lost a child or close friend. Maybe you discovered that your husband is addicted to porn. Maybe you are weary from your work and you don’t know why the money just isn’t coming together. Or maybe you’re going through a difficulty that you wouldn’t quite classify as “suffering” but it feels pretty painful nonetheless.
If you are a Christian, you might enter your suffering with the idea that God loves you too much to let you feel pain. You might have been told this directly by your pastor or favorite author, along with talk of being “favored” or “God wants you to prosper if you only have faith.” Or you might mentally reject the health-wealth-and-prosperity theology but deep down still kind of expect it to be true. If only you read the Bible more, you wouldn’t be so sad.
To be honest, I’ve wrestled with this big-time. Here is what that often looks like:
“Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken”? I sure feel shaken.
“You keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You”? I read the Bible and think about God all the time, so where’s that perfect peace? I’d even appreciate mediocre peace!
If I’m crying this hard, am I even a Christian?
I am not coming to you as an Expert on Suffering with 5 Easy Tips to Stop Feeling Abandoned by God. But I do come to you as someone who is always needing and receiving comfort and truth from God. So here are some things I try to tell myself when I’m feeling like God doesn’t hear my cries for help:
(By the way, please look up the scriptures and sermons I mentioned. And you've got to hear Andrew Peterson's song "The Silence of God"!)
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My name is Hope.
I'm 25, married to a former skater dude, and raising little people ages 5, 3, 1, and not-yet-born. I like lime green and sarsaparilla, and I wear my Crocs until they melt. (Florida problems.)
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Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today