This is a strong challenging question, and maybe we don’t want to admit to any feelings connected with being offended by God, but most of us can relate to moments when we have felt disappointed with, or let down by God.
Someone was recently sharing with me how they had a family member with a terminal illness that they were praying for divine healing – they prayed, the church prayed, people outside the church prayed and this person still passed away. You can give many responses why the family member was not healed, but the reality is God can heal and for some reason chose not to in this case. This person got stuck on this point and they stopped following God because of it…some years later they are working on reconciling with God about this .
Another person I know has a family member with a mental health illness, the family member believed in God and really believed God was talking to them but the voice they were hearing was related to their illness. How can God allow this to happen?
I don’t know about you, but I too have had my moments where I felt God should have helped me or protected me and he didn’t. Or times when I really felt he was leading in a certain way, only to have it all fall apart. I have to admit my trust in God was really shaken and it has taken a long time to rebuild my trust. Maybe you have been praying for something to happen and God doesn’t seem to be listening or answering. How do you deal with this?
I don’t have clear and neat answers on this – I wish I did.
Where I have come to is this; God’s character is set. He is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. That is who He is. If my experience doesn’t measure up to this, then I have to go back to understand what I was expecting of God. This often relates to how I think God should express his love for me. When his love, as I perceive it should be, doesn’t measure up, then I need to reframe how I understand God as good, God as love.
I think this is what Job does in the bible. He reframes his understanding of God through the lens of suffering. Job is a righteous man and he really knows God. Yet major bad stuff happens to him and the only thing he is left with is his life – and it is not a life any of us want – filled with intense emotional and physical suffering. Job is really trying to understand God in light of his suffering – and part of his suffering is that God is absent. When God finally does speak, it is not to answer Job’s questions, but to point to Job to see how majestic God really is. At the end Job says something like, “now that I have seen and heard you, I see that you are God and I am nothing.”
I pray that each one of us are able to journey through our suffering and disappointment and come out the other side with a deeper understanding of who God is.