Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “I will never leave nor forsake you.”
“I will never leave nor forsake you.” This scripture kept running through my head during one of the worst times in my life. I felt as if I had lost everything, and just when I thought that I had finally reached rock bottom, a new challenge arose generating a new level of hurt.
I felt abandoned by a God who was supposed to love me, protect me, and prosper me. That’s what His Word said! Yet, things continued to spiral downward.
“You should stand in faith!” Some of my friends proclaimed. “Declare God’s Word over your situation!”
I had done that. I had stood in faith and proclaimed the Word. I had believed it with my entire being. Yet, things failed to turn in my life, and the drought seemed to just keep going on with no end in sight.
Days turned into months, which turned into a year with no reprieve in sight. I clung to the promise of the Word while being pummelled by Satan over and over again.
I cried out to God. I wept on the floor. I begged and pleaded. Yet one thing after another felt like it was being stripped from me. I prayed, asking for answers, and heard… nothing. I examined myself- my heart- but I couldn’t find where I had erred. Nothing made sense.
I desperately wanted to feel God’s love. I needed His strength and peace to wash over me, but some days, I must confess, I felt numb. I relentlessly asked God, “Why? What have I done to deserve this?” But again heard nothing. A part of my heart almost believed that God didn’t care- He had just left me in my situation bloodied and hurting.
Maybe My Friends Have Answers And Can Help Me Despite My Unbelief
Not hearing from God and hurting on an ongoing basis caused me to turn to my friends for answers. Maybe they could help me. Someone had to be able to give me the answers that I so desperately needed to hear.
However, I found out they couldn’t help through no fault of their own. They didn’t understand the why either. All they could do was give me sympathetic glances and pray, but no answers, and no guidance. They simply told me that I was on the right track and could offer no suggestions.
At the time, I felt like I served a God who let me down as His promises just weren’t manifesting. Worse yet, I felt like He had left. How could a God who loved me not hear my cries? How could He simply not care? If I couldn’t hear, couldn’t He use my friends to get my attention? Still nothing came.
Things continued to get worse. Due to increased strain, my husband and I were arguing more. Not either of our faults, we were just stressed out, and stretched beyond what we felt we could bear. One person that I considered a good friend suddenly decided to “unfriend” me for no reason. We didn’t have a fight or disagreement, but just out of the blue they cut me out of their life, and I didn’t know what I had done to upset them.
I had another friend who was going through a bad break-up- one in which they were depressed all the time and barely functioning. I felt a deep empathy for what they were going through- I had experienced it myself and knew exactly how they felt. I shared my story with them hoping that through it, they might find comfort. They ended up after two weeks telling me that they don’t want me to talk to them.
You may be thinking that there is more to this story… that maybe it was my tone, or how I presented things. But it wasn’t. All I said was that I was sorry that they felt this way, and I could identify with what they were feeling. I shared my story from the way that I felt going through it (you wouldn’t think you could fault someone from sharing their testimony), but they still exited anyway… meanly, I might add.
It hurt more than you could imagine. I felt rejected when all I had done was try to help. I was being sincere, and I really did care. Why was this happening? Why did my God, my friends, and people who I thought were my friends suddenly leave me? I had a good heart. I thought that I was a kind, caring person. Why were things being systematically being stripped away?
What Did I Learn from the hurt?
Sometimes life just happens. We can do everything right, we can serve God with our entire hearts, and bad things just happen. Sometimes calamity comes through poor decisions- I had allowed many to happen- but I had repented and changed my ways.
The drought wasn’t meant to break me. God was there through a lot of it, and I could see it. He did supernatural miracles. But when they stopped, I didn’t see it as God telling me that I needed to stand on my own. The miracles were there to build up my faith, but not there to prevent me from moving forward. While my faith was in God, and I relied on Him, He wanted me to move forward on my own to change my situation.
And in moving forward, my character was forever changed. I don’t take things for granted any more. I am more appreciative, and my heart is to help others more than every before.
I became okay with not knowing why this ever happened. I may never know. Sometimes bad things just happen. But it is the way that we handle them that determines the outcome. What are we thinking? What are we saying (even in frustration) over our situation that is causing this too manifest? Am I being ungrateful?
God hadn’t left me. I’m sure He saw every tear. Anger had enveloped my heart and choked out His Words. I was on the right path. All I needed and was being taught was perseverance despite my circumstances.
While waiting is tough, and the future may be uncertain. Everything has an end. You just have to wait for it.
My friends didn’t abandon me. They just didn’t know what to say to make things better other than encouraging me to continue on. I learned that everything in life is only temporary, and every season has an end. My situation was only a terminal sentence as long as I chose to remain in it. If I didn’t move forward, I was stuck indefinitely in it. As long as I was continuing on despite the way I felt, I was still making progress.
I had days where I just wanted to curl up in a ball and “pack it all in”. We’ve all had those days. But it was my hope in the Lord that ended up sustaining me. I couldn’t turn my back on Him even though I didn’t understand the why. To abandon my faith was to life without a hope that I so desperately needed. Without Him, my life was hopeless, and Satan would have taken me out.
The pruning of my “friends”? While everyone wants to be accepted and loved for who they are, we can’t place our worth in other people’s hands. We end up giving them too much control over ourselves. It isn’t other people that define what we are worth, but God alone. I had placed too much emphasis on other people, and too little emphasis on God as my source for contentment.
People will come, and others will go. However, the friends that I have that still remain I am grateful for.
Most importantly, I realized what I had allowed into my heart. I had allowed bitterness at the situation to fester. Bitterness and anger numbed the pain and indignation that I had felt inside. I had used it like a band-aid to protect myself from further hurt. Yet I didn’t realize that in “protecting myself”, I wasn’t letting anyone else in. I probably missed all the good things, and the good moments going on around me.
The thing about the band-aid, though, is that it protects us from infection (hurt), but it doesn’t heal us. Healing comes from dealing with the underlying pain that we feel. When we relive our circumstances over and over again- when we refuse to deal with it- we are ripping off that band-aid. We are picking at the scab which only causes a bigger cut and prolongs our healing. New skin is not able to grow.
Life only hurts when we refuse to deal with it, and anger becomes our best friend. Healing comes from the pain, and while it is extremely unpleasant to deal with, it is completely necessary in not only refining our character, but in the compassion that we give to others.
God loves us more than we know, more than we often acknowledge through our pain, and is there through our suffering. Sometimes in our anger we just can’t hear Him. He’s there, though. When we are open, He will speak. He was there telling me to trust in Him, and that He would provide. It was focusing on what I didn’t have that got me off-track.
Sometimes God will allow the pain, but it’s only so that we deal with it. Bitterness is a hard place to live. It’s only through dealing with the pain that we ever can receive our healing because it invites God into the situation. It was also there to show me that my focus was all wrong.
I hope that my words have helped someone out there. I came to the realization that I am not the only one that has gone through pain. There are many hurting people out there who need healing. There are many people just like I was that could use encouragement.
Best of all, for me, is that the words written during the last portion, came from His heart. They are His Words- they are the revelation that He has given me- and they come with His love, as well.