I have spent many years in deep suffering and pain and during that suffering, I have believed that God was allowing it to happen. He didn’t hear my prayers or my pleas for help. So many times I prayed and begged Jesus to help me, yet no relief came. I believed God had abandoned me and I hated Him for it.
I think many people, Christians, and non-Christians alike go through periods of feeling abandoned by God. The question is why does it seem so often that God does not hear us or answer our prayers? Has He really left us alone in our suffering, or is there more to it than we can understand?
I always remember a specific period in my life during the first year I was saved. Jesus had done a miraculous work to free me from drug and alcohol abuse and had given me a new heart that longed for Him. Yet it seemed like it wasn’t enough. I was constantly raging against my family and I couldn’t stop. I wanted to stop, begged God to help me stop, but there was no change.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The example I remember so vividly was a time of extreme suffering and torment. I was so tormented by demons and I was constantly being accessed by fallen angels. I didn’t know that was happening at the time, all I knew was that I was in an intense and deep pit of hell. I was laying in my bed with the shades drawn and I was railing against God. I was spewing all sorts of venom at Him and all I wanted was to die.
I had begged Him over and over to spare me from so much suffering and yet it continued to consume me. I wanted so badly to die, to take away all the pain. I couldn’t see that was exactly what the enemy had planned for me. As I lay there I plotted to take my own life. Then my husband walks in, just getting home from work, I start yelling at him and tearing into him with my venomous words. He walked into a minefield and every step caused an explosion.
I chased him away with my rage at God now turned on my husband, and then I went into the bathroom and grabbed the box cutter he had left in there while he was remolding. I could see it as plain as day, the moment where I would slit my throat and end all of the pain forever. But I couldn’t do it. All I could do was watch the scene play in my head over and over but I couldn’t make it happen in real life.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Thankfully my husband came back and realized what was happening and stopped me before I could go any further. Yet truly it was Jesus who stopped me in the first place. Later my husband told me that my eyes flashed red when I exploded in rage at him. That is a sign of demonic possession and I had no idea it was happening to me. I only knew of the pain and the need for relief.
So many of us are suffering in so many different ways, yet Jesus is with us through it all. We may think that He is being silent in answering our prayers but what is really happening is He is protecting us from something so much bigger than we can understand. At that moment that I was being demonized and harrassed I thought I was abandoned because the pain didn’t stop and my circumstances didn’t change, but Jesus was very busy saving my life.
How many times has God been protecting you and saving your very life as you railed at Him for leaving you in it? Even if you leaves you in your circumstance He never leaves you in your pain. Yes, the pain is still there, but how much worse would it be if God wasn’t intervening? Unfortunately, it has taken me years of healing to understand that God has not abandoned me to my suffering – I just had a massive amount of spiritual garbage heaped on me and I had to take it off to hear the Lord’s reply to my calls.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12-13
I could not hear Him before, but He always answered. I have had so much in between He and I, but that’s not my fault. We all end up carrying this burden of ancestral and generational sin and then we carry the shame and pain of it as well. It becomes like a giant wall surrounding us and eventually we stop trying to get out or see over to the other side and just accept it as it is. But it isn’t how it has to be. We can keep fighting, but it is only through constant surrendering to the Lord that He can make those Jericho walls come down.
I know it feels like you have been circling around Jericho walls for so long that there is no hope of them coming down. The only thing God is slow at is anger. While you are focused on the walls coming down, Jesus has been busy working on your heart. He wants to take your heart of stone and give you a heart that yearns for Him. Some of us already have it, but it has been calcified from all the pain and disappointment, and rejection in this life.
You are not alone. Hear my story and have hope. I am with you in this. Your pain will be outshined one day by the brilliant glory of God the Father when you finally come into His presence. But for today, just know, you are loved, right where you are. The King of Glory is with you, and He is redeeming you. All of you. He will leave nothing undone, and that is His promise to you.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.