Summary: Dealing with the feelings of Abandonment
When you feel abandoned (Ps 22)
Have you ever felt that God has left you? You know what I mean – you are in desperate need and he seems to have just abandoned you. It may have been that you were ill or maybe had a friend or a parent or child that was desperately ill and you were crying out to God, asking him for help. Maybe it was a situation at work or school that was just too hard to take - maybe you were in a new school with no friends and just hated it; maybe there is conflict at work and you can not cope – you just wanted out of there and you were praying to God that he would deliver you from that situation, but you heard nothing. Maybe you were desperate for work and you prayed and prayed for god to answer your prayers. You were desperate for an answer and prayed day and night, but to no avail.
What do you do in these situations when God is silent? When you are suffering and he just doesn’t seem to care. He just seems to be on holidays or avoiding you or worse still - maybe he is just a figment of our imagination. Do you ever feel like that?
It doesn’t seem fair does it. I mean Think back to the Old Testament and the people of Israel. God was with them. He delivered them and they praised God for it. They only had to cry out to him and he came running to save them. They only had to trust him and he delivered them. Its all well and good for them, but what about me?
Have you ever thought like this? You feel like you are not even worth enough to worry about. You mut be one of the lowest of all people for God not to care for you – you must be scorned and despised. No come to think of it, that is even too important, it is as though you were a worm – not even a human being – not even that important.
How do you feel when this sort of thing happens? Does it shake your faith? It is difficult, because here I am a Christian who trusts in God. I have faith, but what a witness I am turning out to be. … my friends all look at me and laugh - All they see is a person who believes in something that can’t be seen or proven – a person whose prayers are not answered, whose “loving” and “caring” God seems to have abandoned them. They only see me continuing to suffer and snicker at my misplaced trust.
A pre-kindergarten teacher found an exciting new thing for the Sunday School class. The teacher wrote a song about popcorn, taught it to the children, and had them crouch down on the floor to sing it. At appropriate points in the song, all the children would "pop up." The teacher soon had them "popping" all over the classroom.
One day, the popcorn song was in full swing, when the teacher noticed one child remained crouching on the floor while the other children "popped" all over the room. "Why can’t you ’pop;like the other children?" The little child replied, "I’m burning in the bottom of the pan."
While the world goes merrily along around us, we can be burning in the bottom of the pan. Where is God when this is all going on? Where is he when we need him the most?
Does he expect us to go it alone? Surely not … isn’t he a sovereign God who brought us into the world and nurtured and protected us throughout our entire life. Surely he doesn’t repay our loyalty with isolation. We need him most when trouble is near us and there is plenty of that …
When faced head on with our biggest problems, they look so scary. Like a herd of bulls encircled around us ready to trample us to smitherines. Or like a pride of roaring lions ready to rip me apart. How do you feel when faced with your suffering, your problems, your anguish alone? Do you feel empty and drained? You are so uptight, your body feels as though it is tied up in knots. Its as if every bone in your body is out of joint. Your heart melts like wax – you don’t have any courage left – it is gone. You just don’t have the energy to keep going, you are ready to die.
I guess most of you can relate to some of this. The pain of suffering is real and can’t be underestimated. The feeling of being abandoned is intense and is not to be belittled and so is the guilt that we are somehow failing in our faith because of our doubts. But let me assure you that you are in good company here because all that I have just said above is a paraphrase of Psalm 22. King David wrote it Why don’t you open it up with me now and we’ll read it together. While we read it, see if you can identify who else has used some of this psalm during a time of suffering. .