Feel Like You’ve Been Abandoned By God? This Will Help You Find Hope Again

It’s easy to feel abandoned by God when things don’t make sense, but don’t despair there is hope.

Today, let’s look at the belief that God doesn’t care enough about you to make things better. This is a big one that I struggled with in the past and here’s why. There was a season in my life where things were bad and they proceeded to get worse. It seemed like every week, every month, every day, sometimes there was something, a new crisis or event in an ongoing crisis that kept coming.

I couldn’t catch my breath and I couldn’t see a way out or any hope. I began to tell myself that God must not care about me. If he did. Instead of things getting progressively worse over the last five years, they would get better.

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It took me a while, but I finally realized that simply isn’t the truth. I want to look at this lie and how that affects each of us. At the root, this challenges your belief in God because you’re saying that God doesn’t care about you and that’s not true. 

Encouragement from Isaiah

One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 43. I love the book of Isaiah. In Isaiah 43:2 it says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The flames will not set you ablaze.”

This is so encouraging to me because what I hear in these words is God promising to be with me when hard times come. In scripture, often water or fire represent troubles, hard times, or crises of some sort. In this verse, you see when you pass through the waters, when you go through something hard, here are all the things that God’s promising. 

Number one, he’s going to be with you and he’s saying that you’re not going to be overwhelmed by the water. Rushing water can take you out. You might drown. God’s promising that what would naturally occur with this rushing water will not happen to you. You’re going to go through it and you’re going to be fine. 

Then you hear walking through the fire which is, of course, all-consuming and deadly. It says you’re not going to be burned and the flames will not set you ablaze. Basically what this passage is promising is that when you walk through hard times, God is going to be with you. 

And because he’s with you, you will not suffer the natural consequences of whatever you’re walking through. That’s why you’re not going to be washed away or burned. You’re not going to smell like smoke. You’re not going to be covered in ash. 

You’re not going to have any of those things happen to you because the Lord is with you. This is the truth that I use to combat this thought that God doesn’t care enough about me to make things better. Well, no, because in Isaiah you can read that he promises to be with you and to keep you safe. 

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The Fiery Furnace

The second part of why this is a pervasive untruth that we often see in the church is this message that says that when you become a Christian life is easy. It’s all blessings and good stuff. Nothing bad will ever happen to you. When you walk through life with that belief, you are really thrown for a loop when life happens and things get hard. 

The bible does not ever say that as a Christian, you are going to mosey on down Easy Street. It says the opposite. Jesus says, in this life you will have troubles, but take heart because I have overcome the world. 

You are going to walk through hard times. You are going to suffer. You’re going to face persecution in the name of the Lord. All of these things are a given, but what’s also a given is that you can overcome because of Christ in you, because he promises to be with you and walk you through those hard things. 

When I was trying to think of an account in scripture that exemplified this, I could not get away from the story of the fiery furnace. It’s in Daniel 3, and this is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They have been taken into captivity to Babylon, and King Nebuchadnezzar has this brilliant idea that he’s going to make everybody bow out to the statue and worship. 

These three boys say, nope, we are going to stand firm in our faith and firm in our conviction to only worship and bow down to the one true God. And Nebuchadnezzar goes, well either do it or I’m going to throw you in the furnace. 

And they say, well, furnace it is. You know this story. They get thrown in, they’re just fine, and God gets all the glory. But here’s the key thing that I want to look at is what they say to Nebuchadnezzar and then what Nebuchadnezzar says later on in the passage. 

Daniel 3, King Neb says either you worship this statue or I’m going to kill you by throwing you into the fiery furnaces. They say something that speaks to their faith and their trust in God. They say they do not need to answer him on this matter. They know that the God they serve can deliver them from the burning fiery furnace. 

But if not, they still will not serve his gods or worship the golden image he set up. Then a few verses down, they’re thrown in. The king gets so mad that they’re challenging him that he has the fire turned up seven times. It’s so hot that the soldiers who throw the boys into the furnace burn up and die themselves. 

But these three boys don’t die. In verse 24, Nebuchadnezzar looks in and says, “Hey, did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” When his servants say yes he admits that he sees four men unbound walking in the fire and they’re not hurt. The fourth man is like a son of God. 

When they’re thrown into this fire, what happens? They’re not burned, they’re not harmed. They are just fine. This is exactly what you saw in Isaiah 43. This is the promise. When you go into the fire, you will be fine. They go in bound, but they come out unbound. They’re walking around having a chat with Jesus in the fire, probably praising the Lord. 

When they come out, they’re not burned. They don’t smell like smoke. They’re not covered in ashes. You would never know that they were in the fire. In the end, the king is so humbled at that moment by the power of God that he says going forward, nobody says anything bad about the three boys’ God.

Isn’t that wonderful? When you begin to think that God doesn’t care enough about you to make anything better remember this story. Remember that even though they went into the furnace God was with them in the fire and he protected them and brought them out. 

That event was able to display his power and his glory to a whole bunch of unbelieving people. The same is true for you. Yes, life sucks sometimes, but God is still with you. When you come out on the other side, it is going to be a powerful testimony that you can have that shows the glory of God. 

Practically Speaking

You’re not literally being thrown into furnaces these days. So what does this look like, practically speaking? I see three things. I see a struggle with unbelief. I see a struggle with waiting, and I see that we just don’t know God. 

With unbelief, you may be in your word, have been saved, or have been in the church for a long time. You know a lot about God. You know that he’s good. You know that he’s a father. You know he’s a shepherd. You know he’s a provider. You know he’s a healer, but you may not believe that those things apply to you. 

You might say something like, well, yeah, I know that God can heal because he healed so-and-so, but he’s just not going to do that for me. You don’t believe that God’s going to do what he said he’s going to do. The other thing is waiting, and this is my struggle. I am not a patient person. I don’t like to wait. 

Sometimes God takes longer than I think he should, as if I know anything. But in this waiting, you might take the delay to mean that he’s not going to do anything. Because if he was, he would’ve done it already, which is not true. It could be that he’s setting things in motion so that it’s easy when you get there.

For example, there was a time when I was trying to flee my abusive relationship and needed a place to go. I needed a home for my boys. I had to go and I was desperate to get out of that situation that I was in. It took a really long time for us to get out. 

It took over a year and it was hard and it was miserable. But when I finally found our place, it was so easy. I called, it was a place that I hadn’t even considered before I called. They had one thing available and they already had a couple of applications for that spot.

It didn’t look like I was going to get it, but I went ahead and applied anyway, and it worked out so well. By the end of the day, everybody else who had applied for that apartment withdrew their application. For some reason, my application was accepted. 

The apartment was actually on the list to get renovated and updated, which would’ve increased the rental price. But because of the date I applied, I got an updated apartment at the old price, which was awesome. 

God worked out all of these details. Was it hard for me to have to wait that year to find this safe place to go to? Absolutely. But it worked out. I had saved up enough money to go. I had enough money to qualify financially, and all of these things lined up. 

You would’ve never known that it took me a year to find a place. In the waiting, the challenge is to try not to fix things yourself because you’ll make a mess of it. At least I do every single time. The third thing is knowing that for a lot of us, we simply don’t know God. 

You don’t know what he will do or won’t do because you don’t know him. You haven’t spent enough time in scripture learning about his character, learning about his nature, and learning what his promises are to you. When things get hard, you have no hope because you don’t have that foundation. 

Truthfully speaking, the answer to all three things, unbelief, not wanting to wait, and knowing God is to spend time in the word. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were able to stand there in the face of death and say they still weren’t going to do what King Neb wanted them to do because they knew God. When you know God, then you trust him, and then it makes the waiting more bearable. 

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