Is it reasonable for a Christian to feel forsaken by God?
Have you ever been in a place so dark, that you wonder if God is coming to the rescue? Jesus was in such deep emotional suffering that he was sure that his father had forsaken him (Matt. 27:46). After all, His friends deserted him, the people who he healed, fed, and may have given life to, were begging for his execution. The nation that coroneted him king-of-the-Jews one week earlier, now calls for his death. At that point even Jesus questioned whether his father still cared. I know that some people have been there – that in your wilderness God seems absent, in your noise, God seems silent, in your emotional trauma, God appears to be far away. If Jesus felt that deep pain, you must have felt it too – some people may be going through it right now.
Christian turbulence is real and may invite wavering.
I have been supporting and speaking with a brother (Matthew) recently who separated from his wife, and severed from his children who begs to see him every day. Just before that separation, she wiped his bank account clean. During that same time, he lost his Job, then lost his professional license – with that, his inability to find another Job in his field. The following week, the private school his children attended sent him a bill for six thousand dollars which the wife should have already paid. Then the check engine light came on in his car. The garage told him it would cost eight thousand to repair that vehicle. That was just after he had received his first repossession warning from the dealership. Just so you know, Matthew is a Christian church elder who serves in the church ministries with all his heart. Yet, God seems nowhere during turbulence. Matthew’s dilemma did not end there. Shortly thereafter, he received an eviction notice. Right around then, he was doing Uber, and he dropped off a man in a wealthy neighbourhood. That man offered him five thousand per week to illicitly drop packages around Atlanta. Would anyone in that situation not be tempted? This experience might have prodded him to feel a line in the song, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing: Prone to wander Lord, I feel it; prone to leave that God I love (Robert Robinson).
Turbulence could be found even in heaven.
There was a similar concern in heaven: Rev. 6:9: When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. (10) They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
Some of the souls under that altar: Stephen – stoned to death.
Peter and his brother Andrew – both crucified upsides down
John Huss & Wycliffe – burned alive until they died.
William Tyndale – Choked to death in 1536 (whatchristianswanttoknow.com).
Over a period of 15 hundred years scores of thousands of Christians died for the faith. And, even as recently as 2010, eight Christians were martyred in Egypt for the Gospel of Christ. These are they who are under the altar calling out, how long sovereign God before you show that you care. These people are worried in heaven because that situation seems hopeless, and they don’t understand the timeline of God. (Jesus: no one knows the hour or God’s timing. Matt. 24:36) So, don’t tell me that you don’t feel hopeless sometimes: The first elder will feel hopeless sometimes, the strongest people you know may be worried on occasion; your seemingly immovable husband or wife will feel discouraged; your pastor will feel distraught sometimes.
Hope in time of turbulence!
However, do not be discouraged and do not be dismayed; for as I live, I know that God is on his way in every difficulty.
When David, in his long struggle over his son seeking to assassinate him and usurp the throne, he looked up to the hills and saw his help coming (Psalm 121).
Elisha, in Israel’s long fight with Assyria, found his help in legions of angels on the mountain sides (2 Kgs. 6:17).
Job after he lost his children, family, wealth, and health, with sores on his skin and his body disintegrating, said I know that my redeemer lives and will restore me on the last day.
Martin Luther King Jr. always used this song as a motif of courage: Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my life in vain, I’m tempted then to murmur, and of my lot complain, but when I think of Jesus, and all He’s done for me, Then, I cry, O Rock of Ages, Hide Thou Me.
There is a balm in Gilead; To make the wounded whole; There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul; Sometimes I feel discouraged; And deep I feel the pain; In prayers the Holy spirit Revives my soul again.
If you look historically over some of the quagmires from which God has delivered you; over the mess that he has cleaned up; if we look pass our ungratefulness and the ingratitude we display, we will see that he still came around and gave grace that we did not deserve – It is then we understand that he is forever faithful and will be on time. There is no Christian who can claim hopelessness without looking back and seeing the impact of God in their lives like footprints in the sand. Isa. 43:2: When thou pass through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walk through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
Some of us are walking through the fire right now and don’t even know it because the holy spirit has become our insulation. So, even in turbulence, be still, because the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.