Feeling Abandoned by God When You’re Sick

Feeling Abandoned by God When You’re Sick

AbandonedPhysical 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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Positive Spirituality: What’s Good for You?

Positive Spirituality: What’s Good for You?

Is spirituality good for you?

You might expect me to claim that Christianity or, more generically, spirituality is a good thing for your health. But that’s not what I believe.

And both science and God’s Word back me up on this.

Now before you click “Delete” or “Back”, think of it like this. The way spirituality impacts your health isn’t unlike the way other relationships affect you. If your relationships with your husband, children, family, and friends are relatively healthy, then of course these interconnections benefit your health. But if your relationships are characterized by violence, addiction, anger, and conflict, than your physical, emotional, and spiritual health will be seriously damaged.

It’s the same with your spiritual life. Numerous studies point to a pattern: a relatively positive spirituality is associated with lessened anxiety and depression, a better quality of life, positive stress-related growth, less chronic pain, and lower mortality. On the other hand, negative spirituality is associated with poorer physical health, increased mortality, increased anxiety and depression, lower self-esteem, and a heightened incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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The Ministry of Presence: Being There

The Ministry of Presence: Being There

Ministry of PresenceSometimes you can tell somebody what they need to know. That feels good. Sometimes you can fix things for them. That often feels even better. Sometimes you can even help them grow strong enough to fix it themselves. That feels best of all.

But sometimes there’s no fixing it. Nothing you do, or they do, will make things any better. In those times the best you can offer is you. It’s being there – the ministry of presence.

As a physician I’ve developed a style of relating to patients that helps them feel comfortable and reassured. But I didn’t fully appreciate how powerful that kind of relationship can be until I experienced it from the other side. Some time ago my husband was in the hospital, and we were both understandably anxious. Several new doctors quickly became involved in his care. But everything changed the moment his regular doctor walked into the room. My husband was getting the same treatment, but the presence of Dr. Pohl made us feel comparatively confident and safe about everything that was going on.

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To the Woman Whose Husband is Addicted to Pornography

To the Woman Whose Husband is Addicted to Pornography

I hear from you regularly, you whose husband’s eyes are filled with many other women and not with you. You don’t even want to think the words, but he’s addicted to pornography. And every one of you carries a sadness I would love to be able to heal.

I think about you and carry you in my heart:

  • The 60-year-old patient sitting on the exam table fighting back the tears, who shared, “My husband hasn’t touched me in years. He spends every evening in the basement looking at other women on his computer.”
  • The friend riding in the back seat of my car as we were returning from a Christian event, almost choking on the words as she told how her “good Christian husband” kept promising to stop looking but never followed through.
  • The young mother writing to me about how she was trying to protect her two children from her husband’s internet porn while he seemingly refused to even admit he has a problem.

Sometimes you get angry. At him. At life. At marriage. At God for not fixing him even though you pray – and pray and pray and pray. You feel used and abused by the man who promised to love you even if he hasn’t done anything to hurt you physically. You wonder why you’re not enough. What if you hadn’t gained that extra weight? What if you kept yourself looking more sexy? What if you never said NO even if what he wanted seems disgusting?

And you’ve probably tried doing all those things, and more. But nothing makes any difference, at least not for very long. Some of you may worry about his soul,

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What’s In Your Hand: Using Your God-given Talents

What’s In Your Hand: Using Your God-given Talents

Perhaps you’ve said “I want God to use me!” I know many believers who feel that way. Perhaps your daily life now seems quite monotonous and unimportant, and you wish that light-bulb moment would happen when you know you’re making a significant and lasting difference for His kingdom. You see others in the spotlight who God seems to be using in a big way, and you try hard to not allow envy to grow in your heart. Will you ever be able to use your God-given talents to their full potential?

Whenever a lasting desire shows up in the human heart I believe it’s evidence of the way in which God made us. Those desires often become distorted or are directed in unhealthy directions, but the desire is from God. Your desire to make a difference is proof that God made you for a reason, both for this life and for eternity. You and I will never feel completely satisfied until we fulfill the purpose for which He created us.

But we’re not born with everything we need to fill the role for which God made us. The seeds are there, but in order to fill a role that’s big enough to qualify as God-sized, you and I need to grow up in all kinds of ways. And the way to get there is to begin using what’s in our hands right now.

In the Bible, Moses had spent forty years being educated in Pharaoh’s court, and another forty years on the back-side of the desert herding sheep. When God appeared to Him in the burning bush Moses felt ignored, beaten down, old, and anything but ready for some significant role in God’s plan.

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