Feeling abandoned by God is a painful and lonely experience that many people of faith struggle with at some point in their lives. In this comprehensive article, we dive deep into the possible reasons you may feel deserted by your higher power, provide uplifting advice on reconnecting your spiritual relationship, and discuss the growth that can come during the arduous desert experience.
If you don’t have time to read the full piece, here’s a quick answer: God likely has not abandoned you, though it may feel that way during difficult life challenges when His presence is less tangible.
Stay hopeful through prayer, community, reflecting on what you still have, and continuing righteous acts.
Examining Why You May Feel Abandoned by God
You’re Facing Hardship and Loss
When encountering difficult life events such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, job loss, or health issues, it’s common to feel abandoned or punished by God (ref: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-qa/why-do-i-feel-god-has-abandoned-me/). In times of crisis, people often cry out “Why God?
Why have you forsaken me?” This feeling of abandonment can shake one’s faith. However, even biblical heroes like David and Job felt this way during trials, yet God did not actually desert them. Recall that God promises: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
So know that the Lord is with you in suffering, even when it’s hard to sense His presence.
You Feel Your Prayers Aren’t Being Answered
When we pray earnestly for something important – like healing, provision, or restoration of relationships – and don’t see results, we can feel God isn’t listening or doesn’t care enough to respond (ref: https://www.allaboutprayer.org/god-why-dont-you-answer-me-faq.htm).
This perceived “silent treatment” leaves us feeling abandoned and hopeless. But Scripture explains that God may delay answering or say “no” for good reasons, like growing our faith or because He has something better in mind.
Additionally, make sure there is no sin blocking your connection with God (Isaiah 59:2). Overall, keep praying in faith, trusting His timing and wisdom.
You’re Questioning Your Faith
After experiencing prolonged hardships or “unanswered” prayers, Christians may start to doubt God’s goodness and the truths of Scripture – feeling their faith slowly slipping away. subsequentially, they interpret this dryness as God deserting them (ref: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-qa/why-do-i-feel-god-has-abandoned-me/).
However, seasons of questioning are common, even for devoted believers. Take comfort knowing these episodes usually strengthen faith over time. The key is persisting through the confusion, staying connected to Christian community, and asking God to reveal Himself.
Consider saying “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Remember that God promises never to leave you (Deuteronomy 31:6), so be assured He remains present.
Finding Evidence God Is Still With You
Recall Bible Stories About Perceived Abandonment
There are many stories in the Bible where faithful followers felt abandoned and questioned if God was still with them, such as Job who suffered great losses, David who was persecuted by Saul, and Jesus who cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” on the cross (Mark 15:34).
Recalling these stories can reassure us that perceived divine abandonment has happened to even the most righteous, but that God was still orchestrating events for their ultimate good behind the scenes. We must trust in that goodness even when circumstances seem to suggest otherwise.
Look for Small Blessings in Your Life
Even when times are difficult, there are usually small blessings occurring if we open our eyes to notice them – a friend calling at just the right time, a hot meal when you’re hungry, the beauty of a sunrise.
These “coincidences” are often God letting us know He is still present, even if we don’t fully understand His bigger plan. Make a list each day of any small things you are grateful for or that brought you joy.
Seeing evidence of God still caring for you builds hope that your desert experience is temporary.
Lean on Your Community
Chances are that someone in your church community has walked through a painful “God abandonment” season before. Reach out to brothers and sisters in Christ who can empathize and who clung to their faith despite unanswered cries for help.
Let them remind you of God’s promises that never fail, pray alongside you, and model what persevering faith looks like. You may even discover that your experience equips you to come alongside others going through similar struggles down the road.
Reconnecting and Strengthening Your Spiritual Relationship
Persist in Prayer Through the Silence
When God seems distant and prayers go unanswered, it’s easy to give up on praying altogether. But persistently talking to God, even when it feels one-sided, can strengthen your relationship over time (James 5:16). Set aside 10-15 minutes each day to pour out your heart to God.
Be honest about your doubts, fears, anger, and complaints. Then listen in the silence for any promptings from the Holy Spirit (1 Kings 19:11-13). God may not give you clear answers right away, but drawing near to Him through regular prayer makes His voice easier to hear when the time is right.
Immerse Yourself in Scripture and Devotionals
The Bible contains endless reminders of God’s love and examples of His faithfulness throughout history. When you’re feeling distant from God, soak in His Word daily. Highlight verses about God’s character and promises. Pray through psalms filled with raw, honest cries for help.
Read the Gospels and imagine walking beside Jesus, hearing His voice. Download apps with uplifting daily devotionals, or get an inspiring devotional book like Jesus Calling. Surrounding your mind with biblical truth builds your trust and helps you feel God’s presence again.
Serve Others Experiencing Similar Hardship
Reaching out to others struggling with feeling abandoned by God reinforces that you’re not alone. Volunteer with ministries serving the sick, imprisoned, poor, widowed, orphaned, or marginalized. Ask your pastor if anyone in your church needs meals or a friendly phone call during a hard time.
Share Bible verses, devotional passages, worship songs or inspirational stories that have lifted you up. Seeing God at work in someone else’s life awakens you again to His activity all around you. Serving others also gets your eyes off yourself and makes you more receptive to God’s small interventions in your day.
Learning and Growing from Your Desert Experience
The Chance to Go Deeper With God
When we feel abandoned by God, it can actually be an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Him. Desert times force us to go deeper in prayer and bible study as we wrestle to understand God’s presence and plan for our lives.
We may realize that God has not abandoned us, but instead is using this dry period to reveal more of Himself to us. We are given the chance to practice trusting in His faithfulness and goodness even when circumstances seem bleak.
Our desperate seeking of God in the desert can lead to profound insights about His character and draw us into more intimate communion with Him.
Discovering New Parts of Yourself and God
Desert seasons strip away things we have depended on, forcing us to look inward. When familiar comforts are gone, we discover strength and resources within ourselves we did not know we had. We are motivated to develop new spiritual disciplines and skills.
Unexpected talents and gifts often emerge during difficulty. The desert experience is a chance to become more of who God created us to be. It is also an opportunity to discover new aspects of God’s character we have not yet encountered – His mercy, gentleness, and sustaining grace.
He comes to us in fresh ways when we are desperate for His presence. The desert deepens our knowledge of both ourselves and God’s endless mysteries.
Emerging With More Empathy and Maturity
While the desert is painful, it can refine our character. As we learn to depend more fully on God, we become less self-reliant and more humble. Battling loneliness and isolation makes us more compassionate towards others who hurt. Ministering to people in crisis often flows from our own brokenness.
The desert prepares us to be wounded healers, offering the empathy, wisdom and care that comes from struggling through hardship. Like metal forged in fire, we emerge from the crucible of suffering more mature and more able to show Christ’s love.
The desert, while difficult, equips us for a life of deeper service.
While the anguish of feeling deserted by God can be exceedingly painful, this desert experience may ultimately lead to growth in your spiritual life and relationship with your higher power if you persist through the silence.
Stay surrounded with community, immerse yourself in scripture, serve others undergoing similar challenges, and most importantly, continue showing up in prayer until you push through to the other side where your connection with God is eventually renewed and strengthened.
Though the reasons you feel abandoned may be many, have faith that you are seen, loved, and cared for by your Creator even when His presence seems far away during periods of profound adversity and questioning.
If you continually seek God rather than retreating into anger or despair, your perceived desertion will give way to a new level of closeness and understanding of your eternal bond together.