Feeling Abandoned by God When You’re Sick

Feeling Abandoned by God When You’re Sick

Physical illness, especially when it’s long-term, can unsettle your world. It saps your energy and possibly your finances. It throws your vulnerable mortality right in your face. And it can make you question God: His goodness, His power, His caring, and whether He ever intervenes in our lives today. You feel abandoned by God.

I remember Geraldine who came to see me for some gynecologic problems. She wanted to be pregnant, but dealing with her bleeding problems became the most important initial concern. Humanly speaking, it was unlikely she would ever give birth to a child. Geraldine also struggled with a large load of guilt and fear; ongoing abuse as a teenager had prompted her to engage in a number of unhealthy relationships for several years. She worried that her promiscuous lifestyle in the past was causing her problems now, and that God would have nothing to do with her.

When you’ve caused your own problems, at least in part, it may be even harder to believe that God will do anything for you:

  • Infertility caused by a previous sexually-transmitted disease
  • Lung disease caused by smoking
  • Diabetes caused by being overweight
  • Mental challenges after years of substance abuse
  • Serious head injury caused by taking a foolish risk

At least if you did something to cause your own problems, you might not blame God for not wanting to help. But what about those times when the person suffering had nothing at all to do with causing their problems:

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How to Disinfect Your Shame

How to Disinfect Your Shame

We are all wounded. Life happens to us. People hurt us. And we hurt ourselves. But when the infection of shame sets in the pain of those wounds can become unbearable and permanent.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to function so well after even serious trauma, while others who suffered the same indignity seem permanently paralyzed? Wounds such as child abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, marital infidelity, business failure, abortion, or addiction are painful. Always. But some people overcome them, heal from the wounds, and move on. Others seem stuck as though the wound happened just yesterday.

The difference is shame. Healing doesn’t happen once shame infects those wounds.

As a physician I sometimes must treat a patient whose surgical wound has become infected. Those wounds are incredibly painful, and they won’t heal until the infection is eliminated.

Shame is like that infection. And you’ll only heal from the wounds others have caused you and that you’ve caused yourself when you bring your shame into the light.                  Tweet that.

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Who Should You Ask For Help

Who Should You Ask For Help

When you’re successful at doing it all on your own you’re left with feelings of accomplishment and pride. More often, however, you can’t do it all on your own. And then you’re faced with a very big question; where do I go to get some help?

Who you ask for help makes a big difference in whether or not you’ll have a good outcome. I once spent a considerable amount of time trying to get help from someone who was available and supportive. In the end, however, the “help” turned out to be terribly expensive both financially and personally. And I needed help to get over the “help!”

If you need your windows replaced or your lawn mowed you go to someone who has experience and expertise in that specific area. It doesn’t matter as much whether they’re a believer in Jesus, or how they treat their spouse.

But if you need help with your character in some way, it’s a different story.

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What to Do If You Feel Guilty After Watching 50 Shades of Grey

What to Do If You Feel Guilty After Watching 50 Shades of Grey

Three years ago the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy became a publishing phenomenon. And 10 days ago the movie version made a box office splash. Christian bloggers, speakers, and talk-show hosts have offered strong criticism decrying the graphic portrayal of sexuality and male-female roles in a way that they find offensive.

But Christian woman have been reading the books and watching the movie. And at least some of them have felt dirty, guilty, or otherwise uncomfortable afterwards. If you’ve watched or read and feel in some way guilty after watching 50 Shades, then this post is for you.

Our society provides many opportunities to become desensitized to ungodly things. Messages relating to both violence and sexuality are present all around us. Perhaps one might think, “Why not become familiar with what everyone is talking about? Then I can engage intelligently. And surely there’s redeeming value even in what seems somewhat negative. I’ll focus on the good parts.”

And then you read. Or you watch. And something in you changes. If you read the entire book (or series), you undoubtedly had a more difficult time reading the first explicit passages, and things became easier as you continued. Just that experience alone should demonstrate to you how easy it is to become desensitized.

If there’s something in you that feels uncomfortable after engaging with 50 Shades of Grey, that’s a good thing. That demonstrates you are not closed to the Holy Spirit’s tug on your heart. I encourage you to listen, to follow that discomfort, and hear whatever God might want to tell you.

And let me point out that if you’ve struggled to justify watching or reading this material, that very fact should remind you that something in you knows it’s not OK with God.

Here are a few suggestions about what to do with the discomfort you may be feeling:

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How to Pray When You Don’t Know How

How to Pray When You Don’t Know How

You talk with your family and friends. You send text messages, write emails, and post updates on social media. You make phone calls, and perhaps even make presentations at school or at work.

But when it comes to talking with God, you’re all tongue-tied. You can’t think of a thing to say. It feels awkward.

The truth is, you can pray anywhere, any time, for any reason. You can pray out loud or silently, alone or with others, long or short, standing, kneeling, with hands raised, or curled up in a ball in tears.

Perhaps you’re not used to praying much. And even the most “spiritual” of us may sometimes feel at a loss in knowing how to approach God when things are tough. Here are some simple steps to help you get started, or get you out of a “funk” in your prayer life.

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