I wrote this article before I started this blog and it was the first one I shared here. I imagine i wrote it in 2007. Before I began here two other blogs allowed me to share articles which was the genesis of More Than Coping. Allan
I believe this has been the cry of many a believer through the centuries. In the book of Psalms David cries out…..
Psalm 13:1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
There have been valleys, trials, or dark times in our lives that have caused us to wonder if the faith we were clinging to was actually true. The God who said I will never leave or forsake you ( Joshua 1:5 and Hebrews 13:5) at times seems to have done just that. God placed these promises in Scripture because they are true, even when everything in our life screams just the opposite.
When these dark times come quite often what happens is we start to focus on our circumstances and feelings as we begin to lose hope. Sadly, for many of us when these dark times come we drift away from God. These dark times have visited believers all through time. Job’s counselors concluded his trials must have been because of something Job had done. Some sort of sin or failure in his life. Yet we read in Job 1:1 …..
(ESV) There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
For many years I equated suffering to diseases like cancer or maybe being in a terrible accident. I didn’t equate suffering with the mind, which is exactly what happened to me. So when I began to experience my dark times with anxiety I was not prepared for it in any way at all. I had bought into the lie deep in my Spirit that emotional suffering was a sign of a spiritual problem with the afflicted and they needed to latch on to God’s promises. This thinking set me up for a big fall.
So I began to try to reason and figure out what was happening to me. This led to years of me trusting my own heart and creating for myself what amounted to many false truths. Today in Proverbs I read this sobering verse.
Proverbs 28:26 Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
In my mind, God had not only deserted me but He had failed me. As a result I determined that I would do what was necessary to protect myself, because the reality was I didn’t trust God. I realize now the trap I fell into. At the same time it didn’t help when I got so many mixed messages from sincere believers who shared their thoughts on why I was suffering.
Looking back, my life during those years was not in vain. I had unwittingly bought into a false set of beliefs that I had created to help me cope with my suffering. Years ago, God showed me He wants us to not simply cope and struggle through life, He wants the best for us.
I believe for those who read these words who may be in a place like I have been and to a degree still am, if you were totally honest with yourself you might admit that you feel like a failure, that God has indeed abandoned you and that there is no hope. Yet we still attend church. We do good works. We help others. But at our core we are hurting so badly we don’t know what to do. So we simply keep quiet and survive the best we can.
In my mind I believed that in order for God to help me it would have to be something “spiritual” that would be the solution he offered. I fought against the idea of medication or me even having to participate in my recovery by facing some of my fears. It didn’t seem fair and I made myself a victim. And the years went by because I did the same old thing and got the same old results.
During those years I led Bible studies at church. I was part of leadership. God used me in my broken condition but He didn’t desire that I remain there.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
When we feel abandoned by God and see others in the Body doing well we begin to think all sorts of things that aren’t true and not only that, we have to contend with the powers of darkness who are delighted to see us in such darkness and confusion.
So what do we do when we find ourselves in dark times? What I did was to buy every self-help Christian book I could, figuring if I read a certain chapter there would be a magic solution for me and God would touch me. I even thought that as each Christmas and birthday that came up maybe God would heal me as a gift. Finally, I started going back to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa on Sunday nights. I was saved there and I figured God’s presence was strong and I would attend afterglows and obtain my healing. No luck! Finally, one Sunday night as I was sitting in the service God spoke to me in a very quiet way and told me I didn’t belong there. I got up and went home and didn’t return. I had resorted to superstition I was so desperate.
I still am on my road to recovery but I’m here to say there is hope for all of us. God’s way of working in our lives is not something we can predict but He is more than willing to help us. That might be through honest sharing with a pastor, trusted friend, or in some cases a professional Christian counselor.
What the outcome for each of us will be is a mystery but I do know that I am in a better place now than I have been for the last 15 years. Instead of looking back with regret I seek to look forward, one day at a time.
I must share that for me God pointed out sin in my life He wanted me to take care of. I was filled with anger and unforgiveness and I needed to make those things right. There are times we all need to examine our hearts and lay them naked before God.
He has never seen His children as useless or as garbage. That’s simply a lie. He sees us as His precious children who He loves us more than we will ever imagine. Don’t make the mistake of relying on your feelings. They will fail you. Hold on to His promises. He said He has come to give us life, and that more abundantly.
The road isn’t always easy, but God is always faithful.
Joshua 1:5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
We serve a mighty God and some of His greatest warriors are sitting out and He’s asking you to come back so He might show you the amazing things He has for you.
I am a lay person, speaking from my personal observations and experiences. God bless!!