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How to Respond When It Feels Like God Let You Down

Have you ever felt like God let you down? Spiraling thoughts of confusion and shame fill your mind, and even though you frantically try to bury your emotions deep in the soil, there’s a secret part of you that’s still angry at God.

There will be times in our lives when our worst nightmares become a reality. We’re left dazed, numb, and furious, wondering how to respond.

You desperately prayed for healing, but your loved one still died. You tried to forgive those who wronged you, but you ended up getting more betrayed in the process. You knew God gave you a dream, but every time you try to make any progress, your ambitions are left in tatters.

You know God is always good and faithful, but the tiny voice in the back of your head still persists.

“Why did You forsake me, God?” “How could You let that happen?” “Where were You?”

When this voice continues becoming louder and louder, we can either do two things: mute the voice or turn up the volume on God’s voice.  

For many of us, we choose to mute the voice entirely. We know that God’s promises are everlasting and that our feelings aren’t always facts, so we pretend like nothing ever happened and that we’re completely okay. Rather than taking our doubts to Jesus, we simply suppress them.

However, ignoring our hurt only casts further burdens on ourselves. The longer we hold on to our struggles, the heavier they become. Our burdens lead to bitterness and prevent us from moving forward in healing and active surrender. It’s okay to not be okay because God doesn’t leave us where we are- He helps us to make progress one step of faith at a time.

Jesus calls us to cast our cares upon Him because He deeply cares for us. He wants to help you process every single one of these complex emotions, including your doubt and anger. The only way to achieve this is by “turning up God’s volume” through wrestling with your Heavenly Father, just as Jacob did (Read Genesis 32:22-32 to learn more about this!). As we turn up the volume on God’s voice, He silences our own fears and speaks life-giving truth over our souls.

When everything within you screams at you to keep your guard up, the Holy Spirit invites you to be fully honest and vulnerable with Him. Tell Him how you feel, without sugarcoating it or trying to put a positive spin on everything. He can handle your punches and the words you throw at Him.

Then, listen for His still, small voice. Remember that His presence always surrounds you, even when you can’t feel it. When you are fighting with God, He is still fighting for you.

He sees through your defenses and your facades. He sees the depths of your hurt and frustration. He sees how long you’ve been fighting, and He invites you to simply draw near to Him.

He was there when the rug was pulled out from underneath you. He was weeping as you sobbed silently throughout the night.  He was angry when you were manipulated and abandoned.

Make no mistake, His presence is not a symbol of His approval of your circumstances. It’s a reminder of just how much He loves you and how He never once left your side. Even when He felt silent, even when you couldn’t see Him, He never stopped working for your good and His glory. He moves through every part of our lives- through the ordinary, the extraordinary, and the heartbreaking.

Dearly beloved, this is not the end of your story. After wrestling with God, Jacob was blessed and given a new name: Israel (Genesis 32:24-28). While the name Jacob meant “trickster,” Israel translates to “wrestles with God.” While Jacob’s old name was a reminder of his broken past and troublesome character, his new name pointed to his eternal identity and God’s everlasting promise of redemption.

Israel’s unforgettable experience of wrestling with God in the dead of night enabled him to depend on the Lord in an extremely intimate way. It transformed Jacob from the inside out. God showed him that you can be broken and still worship. It’s okay to be weak and not have the answers; there is a Father who is forever seated on the throne and is actively bringing His plan to completion.

Our strength comes from the Lord alone. He will carry you when you can’t stand, and He will walk right beside you as you move forward on your path. Sometimes a part of moving forward is stepping back and addressing your past trauma so that you remember where your hope comes from.

Do not rush God’s process of healing. Embrace the wrestling and fall into the embrace of the One who will never give up on you.

I don’t know what the future holds, but God knows every single detail. He already knew the struggles you were going to face, and He already has a plan of renewal and restoration. Continue waiting and worshipping through the wrestling, and ask God to open your eyes to the ways He is working.

He will reveal to you not just how He is moving, but also who He is. My prayer for you is that when you feel like God let you down, you wouldn’t run away from Him. Run toward His open arms and rest in the security of His promises. He is the Author of your story, and nothing can ever stop His Word from coming to fruition.

Beloved child, He will never, ever let you go.

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