Hey, you. Yes, you. Fellow Christian. Fellow believer. Occasional doubter. Struggler. Constant wanderer. Path seeker. Eternal ponderer of deeply spiritual things:
I get it. I really do. I know how it feels to question the very nature of God and the things He’s promised — the God who you accepted as your personal Lord and Savior and pledged to serve and follow for the rest of your life; the same God who you now feel has completely and totally let you down, screwed you over, kicked the chair out from under you, broken His promises and abandoned you to handle life all on your own. It can be hard to reconcile all of these emotions. The logical, Bible-based, faith-oriented, perseverance-driven side of your spirit is saying, “I know God is unchanging, so there’s got to be some sort of reason for all of this,” while the emotion-driven side of your humanity is screaming, “I’m so exhausted! Can I please just crawl into a hole and give up now?”
Somehow you’ve managed to find yourself asking all of the cliché questions that you never thought you would:
Does God even care anymore?
Is He even listening to me?
If He does love me, why isn’t He intervening in my life and alleviating this misery and suffering?
Why would a loving God allow these terrible things to happen in the first place?
You try to push all these doubts to the side and bury them in the recesses of your mind because you “know” that they don’t jive with your faith. They don’t line up with what you believe about the nature of God, what you’ve been taught about Christianity, what you’ve studied for yourself, what you’ve memorized over and over and over again.
And it doesn’t help that every time you watch the news or jump on social media it appears as if the entire world is falling apart and everything is going straight to Hell. (Spoiler alert: It is.)
So, it isn’t just your suffering. The suffering is everywhere. It’s all over the place. Did God doze off and forget about humanity altogether?
Now, normally this would be the part of the blog post where you would expect the writer to segue into some sort of happy, jubilant, grandiose, deeply theological, spiritually-inspired, God-breathed explanation as to how to overcome or at least cope with such thoughts and feelings. Right? I mean, that’s what Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar and Oprah Winfrey would do. Heck, they might even toss in some exhilarating stock photos of sunsets, majestic mountains, puppy dogs or — my personal favorite — cute little blonde girls blowing bubbles in wheat fields.
Well, sorry to disappoint you, dear reader. But, this 31-year-old epileptic seizure sufferer who hasn’t been allowed to drive in over a year (twice) — and who recently went five and a half months without eating solid food because his brain has bizarre neurological problems that even science itself can’t explain — is not here to deliver shallow rhetoric, candy-coated platitudes or half-ass advice. If you’re just looking for a temporary emotional high or the equivalent of attending a Benny Hinn service, you’ve come to the wrong place.
What I am here to do is say that it’s perfectly okay to feel disillusioned with your faith or to feel like God doesn’t care about you anymore. In fact, it’s normal and it’s all just part of being human. It doesn’t mean that it’s true. (Emotions don’t equal reality.) But, it’s alright to feel whatever you’re feeling — the anger, the frustration, the confusion, the resentment.
However, if God is real and if He is who He says He is — and as a genuine Christ-follower you’ve already accepted both of these premises to be true — then He already knows how you’re feeling. In fact, He knows what you’re going to feel before you feel it, which is a deep concept to digest, sort of like trying to explain the mechanics of inter-dimensional time travel. (Is that a thing?) Plus, He created human emotions anyway (also a deep concept.)
So, it’s alright to feel like you’re not alright. It’s okay to feel like God lost track of you somewhere along the way. You don’t have to pretend like everything is fine. You don’t have to put on a front. Besides, you’re adored by the Greatest Lover, saved by the most courageous Rescuer and prized by the Creator of the universe. Why would you waste time and energy faking your emotions? That would just be silly.
Hand all of those annoying feelings over to Him. He can shoulder them. Sure, there will still be days when it seems like He doesn’t care. But, thankfully, that will never be reality. His character and His nature are not predetermined by your feelings.
He’s on the journey with you and He already knows how the adventure will end, even when it feels like He doesn't care.