Over the years, I have heard the phrase “God forsaken” more times than I can count, especially in movies and pop culture. Whether it was in Pirates of the Caribbean when one of Captain Barbosa’s crew says that they left Captain Jack Sparrow on a “God forsaken island” or in Bruce Almighty when the title character says that “God has forsaken him.” To this day, I have never heard the latter used in any context other than my or my wife’s own.
I will never forget the night my wife (then girlfriend/fiance) uttered those words to me. It was a few years ago and we were sitting in the parking lot after work one night. I was pretty upset about something and she just sat and listened. Then, I heard her so clearly speak these words to me (paraphrasing a little bit because I can’t remember exact word-for-word sentence): “The problem is not that God has forsaken you. It is that you have forsaken God.” To this day, we are in complete agreement that the Holy Spirit spoke these words through her as she was in a trance like state when she said it. Now, I’m not Pentecostal or anything like that, but I do believe in some charismatic-type things, and this is one of them. I literally sat there dumbfounded by these words and hit me like a ton of bricks.
Never had it dawned on me that while God promises to never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6), we never promise God that we will never leave or forsake him. The word “forsake,” for those who aren’t Christians or who have gone to church all your life and been to afraid to ask, means to “abandon someone or something” or to “renounce or give up something valued or pleasant.” God promises to never abandon us and, if I’m not dipping my toes into the heretical pool of theology, He will never give up that which is pleasant or valued (us!), though the former may be a stretch since we forsook God right from the get go. The fact is, God has reached out to us; we have not reached out to Him (per se). We have to willingly come into a relationship with Him by believing that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and that Jesus is Lord (in Greek, this word is used in the Septuagint 5,000 times, and it means Yahweh, which is the Old Testament name for God)(Romans 10:9-10). It’s so simple, yet so difficult.
When we become believers, faith is easy. It’s like a euphoria, a nirvana so to speak. You feel joy, happiness, peace, a hunger, and a thirst for God that is darn near unquenchable as you desire to keep reading the Bible and praying to Him. I remember after I first got saved, I read my very first Bible that I got for myself intentionally and I read it every. single. night. I devoured the New Testament and I was literally on my hands and knees by my bedside praying. It is a time of my life that I miss at times. I miss it because at times even now, I feel like I have forsaken God! My mother always told me that things are on His timetable and not ours; ain’t that the truth! However, I have realized that my impatience is beginning to hinder my walk and relationship with Him. Even more than that, sin hinders your relationship with God when you forsake His commands for your selfish commands. It is true that we are “prone to wander,” but at one point do we get a grip and let the Holy Spirit finally have a say?!
And by no means am I saying I’m perfect. There are days when I truly believe God has forsaken me. Those are very dark days in my life and my wife has had to witness these and witness my darkest moments, most of all which I will not ever share here. On the flip side, there are days when I feel I have forsaken God. For what reason though? It could be any reason that I or anyone else could do that. Maybe we’re mad at God for something He didn’t allow to come to pass that we wanted (I’ve had this happen more times than I care to mention). Maybe we’re mad at God for not answering our prayers and leaving us to trust in His timing (yep!). It’s times like these when we pull away from our Savior and into the arms of that which we falsely believe will bring us comfort: sin. We remedy our pain with drugs, alcohol, porn, sex, or some other vice. For teenagers, their pain is remedied with means that are incredibly dangerous: self-harm, such as cutting and scratching. Then what do we do? We repent (eventually), come back into fellowship with God, and life goes on. Then we run into another “roadblock,” take a “detour,” and “turn back around” again.
Even now at this point in my life, I have moments where I do wonder if God has forsaken me. There are moments when I realize that I have forsook God and sinned. At times, I have become so disgusted and ashamed of my behavior that I begin to hate the person I have become at times, especially when I’m angry or upset. The greatest therapy for this is going to be the typical, cliché response that every Christian blogger will give you, but I’m going to spice it up some: prayer, but not in the sense you’re thinking. I mean, a genuine, heart-to-heart, spill your guts and all of your thoughts, feelings (good and especially bad), and pain to God and have Him help you sort through it. Sometimes you just need to cry (out) to God and that’s okay! He wants us to come to Him in every single circumstance, ESPECIALLY the hard ones that we are losing sleep over (Philippians 4:6). And if we truly believe God and not just believe in Him, we will believe and know that He cares about what’s going on in our lives and that He has the power to change our circumstances (Romans 8:28).
Author’s Note: Allow me to make something very clear: I am not a Calvinist. Allow me to make something else EXTREMELY, BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT CLEAR: I am not an Arminianist. I do not believe you can lose your salvation if you are truly saved as stated in Romans 10:9 and 10. I believe that once you’re saved, you’re always saved. Therefore, coming to a point of forsaking God can happen in a Christian’s life, but I believe that those who are saved will come back someday, somehow. Thank you for allowing me to clarify and for your understanding as well as your taking the time to read this rather lengthy post!