Summary: A message to the downhearted Christian
I was on a spiritual high when I was stationed in Valdosta, Georgia with the U.S Air Force. I was in a Bible believing, Bible teaching church and my relationship with Christ was at a peak. In 1998, I got out of the Air Force and moved my family back to Florida. My spiritual life flourished for a while and I actually got the opportunity to help start a new church, filling in as interim pastor for almost a year. But in the year 2002, I came crashing down from the top in a hard way. Almost overnight my relationship with God seemed to become a thing of the past. As a result, my spiritual life fell to an all time low. I am ashamed to admit it, but there were times that I didn’t want to go to church at all. If it wasn’t for my wife and children I probably would have left the church completely. I fell under a dark cloud of spiritual depression that I just couldn’t seem to get out from under. I started doubting God and his direction in my life. I even questioned if God had anything to do with the direction of my life. In a nutshell, I was miserable.
It has been three years now and although it has taken a long time, the wounds have started to heal. I feel as if I am making my way back up the mountain, be it ever so slowly. I firmly believe that God allowed me to crash to the bottom so that I can take what I have learned and not only apply it to my own life, but share it with others as well. He has shown me that there are multitudes of people who know Jesus, yet have fallen away because of something that happened to make them grow angry, bitter or even depressed. In most cases, they know their relationship with God is suffering, but the pain runs so deep that they can’t even make themselves care.
How about you? Do you fall into this category? Do you feel as if God has deserted you and left you to fend for yourself in a cruel world? Does your heart ache so much that you wonder if the pain will ever stop? Then please listen to this message and allow God to heal your broken spirit.
I. WHAT CAUSES US TO CRASH TO THE BOTTOM? (this is not an exhaustive list)
A. GETTING HURT BY THE ACTIONS OF OTHERS
1. BETRAYAL – Nothing cuts deeper than being betrayed by a friend. Unfortunately, it happens all too often between Christians and non-Christians alike.
2. LIES – Sometimes it comes from a friend, sometimes it comes from an unknown source. Wherever it begins, when someone tells a lie about us it hurts. What makes it worse is when those we know and love hear it and believe it. In my own life, this is what sent me on a downward spiral.
3. HYPOCRISY – Who hasn’t heard the old expression about too many hypocrites being in the church? For some people, watching church members willingly commit sin and then file in on Sunday to worship God is too much to handle. Even long time Christians sometimes find it difficult to cope with the hypocrisy that permeates the church of today.
4. CHURCH POLITICS
i. Preaching – It’s easy to pick apart a pastor and the way he preaches or leads the church. To some, it becomes a favorite pastime. To others, it is a reason to leave the church and never come back.
ii. Music – This is probably one of the most controversial subjects in the church today, and a medium that Satan uses to hurt and injure Christians on a weekly basis.
B. GETTING HURT BY THE ACTIONS OF GOD
Is it sacrilegious to say that we have been hurt by the actions of God? It certainly sounds like something we shouldn’t allow to come from our lips, but it still happens nonetheless. A lot of times people blame God when bad things happen to them. A prime example would be the hurricanes or the tsunami of last year. But I’m not only talking about natural disasters. Christians sometimes have an extremely hard time when God doesn’t answer their plea for help during times of distress. It’s definitely a true statement that we can get our feelings hurt when God doesn’t do what we think he should have done. The truth is that God answered the prayer, but we weren’t satisfied with the results. The following is a list of seemingly unanswered prayers that can turn a person’s life inside out (this is not an exhaustive list).
1. The death of a loved one.
2. The diagnosis of a life threatening disease.