Do you ever feel like you’re in a situation where you’ve been abandoned by God, or confused by what you’re going through? I’ve had 2 situations this week where I have felt this way, and I believe vulnerability about my failures in these can help you if you’re in a situation that has you feeling this way.
On Sunday, a student at my university unexpectedly passed away. He left behind his mother, sister, brother and child. This was a guy that I did not know personally, but I had a class with him. I was honestly shocked just hearing that this happened. To have someone so young with such a bright future pass so unexpectedly, it left more questions than answers: Where God is in this? How does this outcome make sense? Why is there a boy who will be left with questions about why he is without a dad? As a dad, this crushes me, and I’m still struggling to see God in this in any way.
The second situation happened Wednesday, and it involves my daughter. Wednesday morning, Reagan began vomiting a lot. She could not keep any liquids down, and was not feeling like herself. She was super clingy, but to the point that she could not be put down. In addition, when we tried to lay her down, she screamed out in pain. We took her to the doctor who wasn’t able to provide answers, so she sent us to the Emergency Room so Reagan could be tested and so the doctors and nurses could act fast incase this was something serious.
I would love to tell you I was so strong in this, but I wasn’t. Frankly, I was a mess. Usually in stressful situations, I am fairly calm and level-headed, but when it comes to the medical field, I’m a nervous wreck; pair that with the patient being my seven-month-old, and I was not the picture of a level-headed leader. I was praying with tears running down my face the whole drive to the ER, not understanding why Reagan was going through this.
We get to the ER and they ordered the full range of tests for stomach and abdominal issues. When our doctor was talking to us about understanding the possibility of surgery and hospitalization, all I could do was wish it was me that was suffering, and not Reagan. She’s just a little baby, and the fact that this could be that serious was killing me. I felt angry, confused, hurt, and abandoned by God.
(It turned out that Reagan was going to be fine, and did not need hospitalization or surgery. Instead, it was intestinal build up that could be treated with medication at home, and we were discharged after 4 or 5 hours. She is not completely better, but is steadily improving, and she is getting back to her normal self.)
In both situations, my mind was drawn back to a verse that has been referenced a lot this week, Isaiah 43:1-2:
But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
Here is something important to remember: in difficult seasons, we aren’t supposed to figure out or make sense of our circumstances. When we are in a difficult situation that is confusing or hard, we can’t see anything but the circumstance, and we do not know the outcome. We think maybe God could lay out a roadmap of what He is planning on doing so we know where we are going, but even of He did, we would not be able to follow it. In these moments, He merely instructs us to walk with him, remain in him, stay connected to him. He knows the outcome of whatever you are going through. I love this quote from Pastor Matt Chandler:
“The future isn’t something God knows, it’s somewhere God is.”
As I’m driving home Wednesday night, the song “Closer Than You Know” by Hillsong United came on, and just broke me. I’m going to link it below, but if you’d rather just check out the lyrics, you can by clicking here. (Either way, check it out before you finish reading this post.)
Could it be that the trials in our lives where we experience loss, pain, brokenness, confusion, doubt, and all the other emotions that go with trials are meant to build us up? I don’t have answers for why either circumstance from this week took place. Instead all God has been showing me is that He is there in both circumstances, with both families, and isn’t going anywhere. When we feel abandoned by God, He is, in fact, closer than we can even know.
I’ll ask this question again: are you in a situation where you feel abandoned by God, and confused by what you’re going through? Know this: He won’t abandon you. He is with you and He is for you. He knows the outcome. In the midst of your feelings of confusion and sense of abandonment, God wants you to know that regardless of your feelings, He is closer than you know, and He isn’t going anywhere.
Trust the Process. Take your next step. Now is your moment.