Forsaken by God — When Our Fears Become Our Reality

The older I get, the more I feel a need for God’s protection. I’ve been through enough things the first time to put all kinds of barriers around myself to keep me from experiencing it again. Miscarriage? Been there, done that. Do NOT want to do it again. Marriage struggles? Been there, done that. Do NOT want to do that again. Conflict with family? Been there, done that. Most certainly do not want to go through that again. Church conflict? Yes. Personal failures? Yes. And so forth.

I talked with several friends recently who each shared with me in separate conversations that God allowed them into EXACTLY the situation they were trying to not find themselves in again. I was struck that this was not a unique situation, but one in which many of my friends found themselves. We wrestled together with God. Why, Lord?! Why, when we know it’s a problem and we make wise choices in an attempt to avoid it and we pray for Your protection, do we find ourselves in exactly the same situation again? Why didn’t You protect us?

It’s a vulnerable question. Why didn’t God protect my friend from the very situation she did everything she knew to do to avoid? She had a more mature response to it than I did for her, and I started to note something forged in her character through that experience. 

Our pastor preached this week from Psalms 22, and I received it as a gift of God’s grace to us for exactly these situations. God doesn’t leave us to navigate such situations on our own. No, in His Word written and preserved for us, He acknowledges that these situations will happen and then gives us a model for engaging Him when it does.

Psalm 22 A Psalm of David. 

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

David cries it under the inspiration of God, and God preserves it in His Word for the generations that follow. It is finally and fundamentally fulfilled when Christ echoes it on the cross. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” By Christ’s final act on the cross, the issue of being ultimately forsaken by God is finally put to rest for good. God will NOT turn His back on us. He will NOT forsake us. He gives us these words to cry out to Him in prayer even as He reminds us that Christ was forsaken in our place that we would never be separated from God again.

Psalms 22 ministers to us when we struggle with a God who didn’t move for us as we expected, who didn’t save us from a painful road of life that we prayerfully tried to avoid. I have no simple answers otherwise for how to deal with such disappointment—disappointment in your circumstances as well as disappointment in your God who did not act as you expected. The only encouragement I have is that He invites you to stay engaged with Him, to wrestle with Him. He may very well touch your thigh so that you limp the rest of your life, yet like the wrestling of Jacob of old, you will emerge on the other side with something forged in your heart, some bond in your relationship with Him, that others of us who haven’t similarly struggled will note from afar. I do NOT like watching my friends struggle as their fears become their reality. I long to protect them (and myself) from such things. Yet, I have to admit that their faith afterwards as they limp forward in life has blessed me. Really, it has convicted me! Such enduring faith is a precious gift of God, to be valued highly, though it is not forged in easy ways.

5 Responses to Forsaken by God — When Our Fears Become Our Reality

  1. Anonymous August 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Beautiful and piercing…Love you, friend!

  2. Bea August 27, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Thank you!

  3. Anonymous August 27, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    Thankyou Wendy for bringing some insight into my ongoing predicament as I “limp forward in life” and for the encouragement that He is still sovereign regardless of how forsaken I feel.
    Around 3 years ago I was on track with our Lord, all was well with my soul and my family life was in a great place. You know how He seems to give us advance warning of tough times ahead? There were two things that scared my mind over the space of a few months and led to much prayer – that my fig tree would not wither, and my marriage bed be undefiled. For months I was basically begging God to protect our family unit and please not let it happen. Both things HAVE since happened, though I want to say I have not been unfaithful to my husband in deed. Still, our marriage is not the joy & partnership it was for 17years.
    I don't understand what purpose this serves, though my head knows His ways are higher than mine and I might not ever learn the reason in this life. Unfortunately I have not done my best to stay engaged and wrestle through it with Him; depression overtook me and I basically gave up because of disappointment in myself and how far I must have moved from Him to be in this place.
    I can pray for others but if I pray for myself I end up a blabbering mess just repeating how I'm so sorry for who I am and the way I turned out. However, I do know I must try harder to do my bit and not keep giving up. I must keep limping ahead. There are definitley some things I could be doing better and I will start with those soon.
    Your last words, Such enduring faith is a precious gift of God, to be valued highly, though it is not forged in easy ways.” made me cry and I hope to God I can at least have that.

  4. Wendy August 28, 2012 at 4:53 am #

    Thank you for sharing, Anonymous! Praying for you tonight — for joy and hope as you contemplate God's good plans for your family despite the place you find yourselves now. Wrestle with Him! He loves you and hasn't lost His hold on your life.

  5. Luma Simms August 30, 2012 at 5:18 am #

    Thank you, Wendy…thank you.