It is so easy, in this day and age, to become disconnected and to lose sight of God. None of us have ever seen God literally but when we begin to lose faith, that is when we begin to lose sight. To feel abandoned by God is a horrible feeling, you are going through this desert period where no matter how hard you pray or worship or do anything that normally connects with God, you do not feel any closeness at all. I honestly believe that these periods come when we are struggling the most, when all you need is insight and truth. Instead all you get is radio silence. This is a painful period, I am not going to pretend that I have all the answers, but I do want to encourage you with God’s word and his faithfulness. I pray for each person reading this that you will always know the love and hope that Jesus gives.
I want to begin with a Bible verse, I know that when you are struggling it can be so hard to relate to what is being said. However, I do believe that what God says, that is his truth. Deuteronomy 31:8 ‘The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged’. Some brief context to what was going on in this chapter, Joshua was being picked to be the next leader after Moses and the Israelites were now able to go to the promised land but not without having to conquer the land from the people who currently inhabited it. These were the same people that had just travelled in the wilderness for 40years because of their disobedience. God was reminding them that even in this next stage in their story, that there was no way he was going to abandon them. It might be hard and scary, but he told them to not be afraid and discouraged because they had God fighting on their side. You see the success of the Israelites in conquering the land in the book of Joshua. It shows how faithful God was to every promise he had ever made to the Israelites and that is something that we can take into our everyday life. If God had abandoned us, then the Christian faith wold be redundant. God is love, you are what God created and he loves abundantly. God loved you so much that he sacrificed his own son for you that you would not have to die a death to sin. Instead, be giving freedom and life through the blood of Jesus.
One of the most important things to do when you are going through this period, is to continuously fill your head with the truth of God’s word. Although it can be hard to put your trust in those words when you feel abandoned, keep your faith in those words because they are what will get your through. The Bible is not filled with people who had unbelievably easy and peaceful lives. There are many examples of people who have felt abandoned by God and some of these people were incredibly faithful to God. People like Job, Hannah and even in the New Testament Peter felt great remorse when he denied knowing Jesus three times. It is so important to be encouraged by the examples we find in the Bible and how they were able to get through. Some of them had to wait for years for a promise or a prayer to be fulfilled. However, they remained faithful even when other people thought they were mad or had been sinful, they kept their hope. Be encouraged that you are never alone, there are plenty of people who have gone through similar struggles and have remained faithful even through their desert periods.
One of the best pieces of advice that I was given when I was going through a very long desert period, is to make sure that you do not lock God out. Some context; in my second year of university, things went terribly wrong. People who I thought were friends turned out to be the complete opposite, I was also living with one of them which turned into one hellish living condition and my studies just flopped where I was really struggling to keep up my grades at all. I had terrible breakdowns all throughout this year. The one place that I thought would be supportive turned against me and it was just a really crap and emotional period. I lost sight of my faith was and all who God was. I was so ashamed at how I had been portrayed and who that was allowing me to become, I did lock God out. It wasn’t until I was back home that I allowed God to come back in. It took a long time for the walls I had built to come down and a long time to heal. Therefore, I earnestly urge you to keep allowing God in, even if you feel your situation is such a mess it can not be dealt with. I believe that God is not surprised by anything that happens in our lives, but he certainly wants to love and bring healing in every situation. God is not going to forsake you; his grace is sufficient in every situation.
What to do when God feels silent?
I urge you to keep praying. Sometimes the only prayers we can offer is heart aching sobs or silent whispers. It can be hard to even utter words, the fact that you have the hope to keep on praying is vital. It says in the Bible that faith as small as a mustard seed is full of power. Remain faithful, even when you feel like your prayers are going unanswered. The reality is that we can pray a lot over getting out of a certain situation but sometimes that situation doesn’t change. Some people go through awful situations in their lives and they find it so hard to have hope. I can’t answer why terrible events happen to some people and to others none. From the God I know, that even when I have struggled through things worse than a friendship falling through. I have already known what it has been like to be in quite a sum of debt because I was never very good with money. That is something I am still learning today. God didn’t just wave a magic wand and all that debt disappeared, I had to work, and I had to learn to be more resourceful with what I had. He got me through a lot of mental healing when a relationship I had got myself into went sour. In some of these periods I found it hard to see God in the situation or I was embarrassed about them to pray about them. God has only even been faithful to me, there are times when I feel like he has been so silent, but it is normally in those periods when I have either lost sight of him or when something new is beginning to happen. It is sort of a trail to see if I have the faith to step up to this next event. Keep prayer as your connection to God, he truly does hear. Have the hope that even if stressful situation does not change, that God will give you peace that is beyond that of which the world can.
Worship music was something I lost myself in when I was beginning my period of healing. Two artists I listened to the most was Elevation Worship and Bethel. They helped me to reconnect also be reminded of who God is. Another aspect is that music helps connect us to people who have gone through similar struggles and how they dealt with.
Lastly, talk to people, find people who you can trust and can help guide you through this period. Don’t be ashamed, if you feel abandoned or disconnected in your faith. Anyone who has a faith has gone through this period, they will be able to offer advice. Make sure you feel comfortable in who you are talking to, if they are urging you to share more than you want to, do not allow them to do that. Find someone who will be invested in seeing you grow in your faith and your life, not just someone who is a busybody.
Faith is never meant to be done alone! It is about learning and supporting each other through our journeys. Don’t let the world tell you any different, we have an ever present and all loving God. Even when we go through the hardest times, when we can fail to see how God is truly working in it in one way or another he is. God is God, he loves you so much he would never abandon you. To finish with some imagery from the Prodigal Son, when the Father saw his returning son from a distance he ran to meet him. That is how much God loves you, always keep that in mind.
You are so loved and so precious. God Bless. Xx