I haven’t posted much of anything in some time due to an accident that happened recently. I was working at my part time job a few weeks ago and had an accident that resulted in a concussion. Apparently, recovery from such an injury has no real schedule. Each person is quite different in the way they respond to this. My response has been somewhat discouraging at times. It’s no fun at all to not be able to trust your memory or even your thinking at a given moment. And there are some other symptoms that linger for a while causing discomfort and inconvenience. However, I didn’t write this to complain and cry. I wrote this to express something else that’s been going on during this process…and maybe you can relate…to a feeling of abandonment…by God…To give an general picture, let me give you a brief timeline of events. For quite some time now, my family and I have really believed that my time as the pastor of our church has come to a close. The decision to resign from Antioch was positively one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. But, after several months of reflection and prayer, I finally made the decision. Nothing bad had happened. There are no problems between us and our church family. God was simply moving us out of that position. I turned in my resignation on April 7, allowing for a 30 day transition period, making my departure effective May 7. We had an emotional time in discussion that evening, and the people of Antioch were as supportive and loving as always while also being as heartbroken as we were. The next morning I reported for work as usual (as far as I can remember…my memories of that day and the following days are like trying to remember a dream). During work, I sustained a head injury which resulted in the concussion and subsequent effects.
Now…consider the context for a moment. You may think I was a fool for resigning from full time employment before finding other full time employment, but we felt strongly that this was the way we were supposed to handle things. Perhaps we are fools. Perhaps I did a dumb thing. If I did, it was done with full obedience to what my family and I believed God was leading me to do. No matter how it happened, I now find myself coming to the end of my full time salary…with an injury…not cleared to return to work yet…and a mortgage to pay…and bills…and a family to feed. You get the picture. This has been a roller coaster for the last few weeks…worrying about the future (yes I said worrying…and I know that Christians aren’t “supposed” to worry…whatever). I had planned to spend this last month tying up any loose ends and finding God’s plan for the future. Instead I’ve spent most of it just trying to get better every day. (And by the way, Antioch Baptist Church has been outstandingly supportive.)
This morning, I realized something. In all of my anxieties and in all of my concerns…I realized there was something going on in me to which I was oblivious. I realized that I felt abandoned by God. That’s just as honest as I know how to be. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that I think God caused all of this stuff to happen this way. I don’t believe He’s “being mean” to me. I don’t think He’s trying to punish me for anything. I simply didn’t feel His presence…and haven’t felt it for some time. As I contemplated this…I began to wonder why He would abandon me. What had I done? I was trying to follow Him! I was stepping out in faith! I was trusting Him! As a family, we were “putting ourselves out there!” HOW COULD HE LEAVE ME NOW!?!?!?
Can you relate to that? Be honest…has there been a time in which you have felt like God was not with you…not present…not providing comfort for your heart, peace in your soul, or clarity in your mind?
I prayed and asked Him where He was. I received no “answer”…no “voice”…no divine revelation. What did happen was better. I realized that through all of my difficulties…I hadn’t talked to Him at all. All of my planning and/or “fixing” was just that: mine. All of my internal conversations have been with myself…with my panic…with my worry…with me trying to work things out. I haven’t consulted Him or spent time with Him in the least.
Then…reality sunk in…
God never abandoned me.
I abandoned Him. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t intend on it. I was trying to do the opposite. But then…when the storm hit fast and hard…the shock of it totally threw me off kilter. Through all of this, I had failed to consider how much He has used people to take care of us. People have given to us. They have brought food, taken care of our kids, given us money, provided us some therapeutic company, and been incredibly sensitive to the situation. That’s God’s hand at work. He doesn’t abandon…He provides…even while I sit and panic and question if He’s going to provide…while He’s doing it.
I said I felt abandoned…but then I started to wonder…have I made Him feel that way? I know that’s a silly question…or is it? The truth is…He is a gentleman. He will not enter into a conversation in which He has not been invited. He will not barge in.
At the end of this realization, I shared it with a friend and they cried over how I was feeling…and there He was…right in that moment…I knew the truth.
Take care not to let the worries or storms in this world make you think that God has abandoned you or ever will. Take care not to let those very things…things we need Him to take us through…make us do the very thing to Him that we are afraid He will do to us.
P.S. I’m doing better daily. I hope this finds you well. I have some time on my hands right now. How can I pray for you? Go to the contact form on this page and send me an email. It will be confidential. But I promise I’ll do it.
P.S.S. I just realized that the contact form isn’t working properly. Until I get that fixed, you may send me a private message on my facebook page.
*Image taken from: https://shashisolluna.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/soul-searching.jpg