How to Have Hope When You Feel Forgotten By God

Has God forgotten about me is a common question when walking through trials and hard times.

Today, I want to look at the belief that says, “I am all alone in my pain and God does not hear my prayers.” Have you ever thought that or said that to yourself or somebody else? It is tempting to believe that God is ignoring you when you walk through hard things. 

I can remember a time when I was walking through what proved to be the most difficult trial of my life and I had no idea what to do. I had no idea where to turn, and every place and person that I reached out to for help rejected me. It was like the doors just kept slamming in my face over and over and over again. 

I remember one day sitting down and telling myself I was on my own. That God wasn’t listening. I’d been praying for help and answers but it was not going to happen. I was so wrong, so, so wrong. In the end, God proved quite the opposite, that he was indeed right there with me listening. 

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He did see that I was what I was going through and he made a way in the end. I just couldn’t see it in that dark moment. This is where you often find yourself amid hard times. Today I want to go look into scripture to see what happened when another woman found herself in such a place. 

We are going to go to Genesis 16  where we find the beginning of Hagar’s story. If you aren’t familiar with Hagar, I bet you’re familiar with two people named Abraham and Sarah. They are the parents to Isaac. They were really old and hadn’t had children when God promised them that they were going to have a son. 

Sarah gets impatient and decides that she’s going to fix the problem and she gives her servant Hagar to her husband Abraham and Hagar becomes pregnant. Immediately Sarah becomes cruel to her servant. Because of this cruelty, Hagar decides that she’s going to run away. 

We find her pregnant and alone, probably really scared in the middle of nowhere when an angel of the Lord appears to her. He speaks words of encouragement to her and tells her that she’s going to have a son, Ishmael, and he’s going to be a great nation and to go ahead and go back to her master. 

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Hagar says something so poignant for us today in the middle of this conversation. Please find the time to read the entire account in scripture. Genesis 16:13, she says, “so she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her. You are the God of seeing for she said, truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

In Hebrew, the name that Hagar mentioned is El Roi, and it means the God who sees. She says I’ve seen the one who looks after me. Think about that. Hagar is in this desperate place. She is alone, she’s frightened, she’s upset, and she has no control over what’s going on in her life. 

In that place, God speaks to her. He lets her know that he sees her, he sees what she’s been going through, he sees the future and it’s going to work out okay in the end if she would just hang on. I believe that this is something that you can take to encourage yourself. 

God is still El Roi. He is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. If he is the God who sees thousands of years ago in the book of Genesis, he’s still the God who sees. When you understand that God sees you, then you know that you’re not alone and he’s not ignoring you. 

That is the truth that you need to stand on to combat the lie of I’m all alone and God isn’t listening to me. That is a cry to be heard and it’s a cry to be seen. You want somebody to see your hurts and to hear your voice as you’re crying out for help and saying, this is hard. That means that you need to go to the one who sees and hears all and that is God. 

When you believe this lie, a lot of times you don’t use the words, God isn’t listening to my prayers or I’m all alone. You certainly don’t run out into the middle of the wilderness running away from our problems like Hagar. At least I hope you don’t. 

What I do see, and what I have experienced myself, is that you often fall into one of three camps: loneliness, isolation, and abandonment. Quick vocab lesson, loneliness is a lack of connection to others. It’s possible to be in a crowd of people and feel all alone. I’ve been there myself surrounded by people, but felt no connection to anybody until I was extremely lonely. 

Isolation is when you are separated from others. It’s not so much a lack of connection. You are physically separated from other people. This can be for a variety of reasons. We’ve all experienced COVID and being isolated from each other for health reasons. Sometimes you isolate yourself for other reasons like shame and guilt. 

You believe you can’t go to church. You can’t talk with your friend because her life is perfect and your life is a mess. I’ve also had the experience of walking through domestic abuse. One of the tactics that abusers often use is isolation. They isolate you away from your support system. It allows them to have better control over you. 

Then there’s abandonment where you are just ignored and left on your own. All of these work together to create this perfect storm of I’m in this by myself. There’s no help, there’s no support. There’s nobody that I can turn to, no one is going to help me. 

You take those feelings of loneliness, isolation, and abandonment and project them onto the Lord. You believe that you’re lonely in real life so you’re not connected to God either or so-and-so abandon you. You believe that God’s going to do the same thing. That’s not true. 

This is why you dig into the word of God and read accounts like Hagar so that you can see that God is there with you. You can stay connected to the Lord no matter what is going on through prayer and bible study. 

You can be connected to others through fellowship and worship. That is what’s going to help you combat this lie. When you experience these really big emotions, especially when going through hard times, you have to ground yourself in the truth. The truth is always found in the word of God. 

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No more asking “has God forgotten about me” now that you understand these truths.

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