Her pain seeped out through the words in her message: “Have you ever felt like you were totally left by God, like He suddenly just cut you off for no reason? What if you couldn’t feel love or encouragement from Him even after seeking/wanting it so long? Did you ever get upset that way? Was there ever really an answer or revelation for that? Mostly I feel hurt and confusion. Why? . . . I hope I didn’t go too far, or go too long from God being upset. I hope I don’t go to hell.”

Yes, Janice (not her real name), I’ve felt cut off from God. I’ve felt hurt and confused and upset. I’ve wondered why God didn’t make Himself known to me when I kept asking and asking and asking. I’ve worried that there was something terribly wrong with me that no one could help me with, not even God. I’ve felt as though the confusion would last forever, and that there was nothing I could do about it.

Thankfully it’s been many years since my own dark experience. I walked that journey for four years. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But as a result, I can weep with those who weep. I’ve been there. You often hear people say “Just do the next right thing.” But if you’re like me in that darkness you have no clue what that next right thing is. And forget about holding on to hope for the future; you don’t even have enough light to take one more step.

If I could talk to the “me” sitting in the corner of my room, feeling like a puddle on the floor, here’s what I would say. And perhaps this will be helpful for you as well:

  1. Don’t quit. Sometimes the best you can do is to just keep on breathing. But that’s enough. As long as you’re breathing you’re still alive. And as long as you’re alive God can do something for you. If you can’t believe that for yourself, hold on to my belief in that for you. It’s not over yet.
  2. Choose the people you spend time with. When you’re in pain you’re especially sensitive to the words and actions of others. Choose to spend time around people who are faith-filled, encouraging, and who support and lift you up. Save difficult relationships for later.
  3. Cultivate quiet. God doesn’t often add His voice to a multitude of confusing noises in your head. If you work on one thing, work on putting the noise out of your mind. Healing music, nature, sleep – look for any way possible to experience calmness and quiet.
  4. Keep on showing up. You never know what God will use to break through your confusion and pain: a church service, a Bible verse, a Christian book, a TV program, a godly counselor, a special Christian event, or even a website such as this one. Don’t search frantically, but just keep showing up.
  5. Continue to pray. Yes, I know you’ve prayed, in tears, perhaps hundreds, thousands, or millions of times. Don’t stop praying. God’s shoulders are big enough to handle all the junk you throw at Him. It’s OK to cry, yell, plead, and fall apart in prayer. Then be quiet and listen.

I could wax eloquent with a lot of theological talk to prove to you that God is still there, and that He cares about you. But that may not mean much to you right now. It’s your heart that needs healing more than your head. I can offer you a hand of love and hope, and be there with you in the darkness. But in the end it’s God Himself who will heal you.

You may never have an intellectually satisfying answer to all of your questions. But I can promise you that He Himself will become the Answer. One day you’ll hear His voice. If you care enough to still be reading this, I can guarantee that He has not left you. He knows what it will take for you to hear Him, and He will make Himself known to you.

Just don’t quit. Please don’t quit! Light exists, and it is good. Very good! And you can find it.

No, God hasn’t left you! Just hold on! He’ll find you.

Your Turn: When things look dark and confusing, where do you find quietness? What helps calm your mind? Leave your comment below.

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