Waiting For God To Answer.
(14th March 2016)
I went to church on Saturday evening as there was a social get-together. I have to admit I was feeling nervous about it. I didn’t know how many people would be there or what to expect. I was talking to Jesus about it as I walked to church, telling him my feelings.
Well, it didn’t go well. I walked in, and there were a lot more people there than I had anticipated. I tried to settle, but I found it overwhelming. I felt panicky and like I had to get out, so I quickly left. I didn’t want to go home though, so I stood across the road and tried to decide what to do.
My mood quickly plummeted. I felt pathetic, alone, and like I was an outcast. I became very upset and frightened, and I mentally went somewhere else. I struggled with thoughts in my head which were telling me I was bad. I ended up standing there for almost two hours, but I hardly noticed it. I felt like I was alone. I felt as though Jesus had just left me. I kept asking him where he was, why he had left me, and I asked him to help me, but no help came.
I eventually went back in to the church, round the back, just as things were coming to an end. I sat down, and I know people were trying to help, but I was still pretty zoned out and I felt afraid. I did eventually talk to someone I feel safe with though, and I told him that I felt that Jesus had left me. He assured me that he hadn’t, and that he had helped me, as people in the church were trying to help. I replied that I had stood outside for two hours, asking Jesus to help me, and my friend said, “Sometimes you have to wait.” I thought about that and stored it away in my mind.
That night I still felt alone, and on Sunday nothing had changed. It just felt as though God had left me. I kept asking him where he was, why he had gone quiet on me, and why he wasn’t speaking to me. But…nothing.
I was feeling troubled by five things before I left for church on Sunday evening. The first was that I was feeling afraid at home, because of my neighbours. The second was that I thought God had left me. The third was that I was wondering whether God had really chosen me at all, whether he really wanted me, or whether I was merely trying to be a part of his family. Maybe I wasn’t really his child after all. The fourth thing troubling me was feelings of guilt, shame and condemnation, which I have lived with for as long as I can remember. It is like a heavy weight on me, crushing me, and it is often more than I can bear. And the fifth thing was that, on the way to church, I started to think that suicide seemed like a really good option at that point. I felt utterly hopeless and despairing, and I thought about it and considered it.
During the worship at the start of the service, I was still asking Jesus where he was, and I told him about my suicidal thoughts. I sat next to a friend, and she had written down a scripture for me. It was Deuteronomy 31:6. This was when Jesus started speaking to me that night.
The first part of the verse says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you.” That really spoke to me about the fear I had been feeling at home because of my neighbours, and I felt that God was directly telling me not to fear them. The next part of the verse says, “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” That was the reassurance I needed that God was indeed still with me, and that he hadn’t left me.
I started to thank God for staying with me and for speaking to me. But he wasn’t finished. My friend wrote down some more things about how God loves me, and at the end she wrote, “You are a child of God.” That really spoke into how I had been wondering whether I really was God’s child after all or whether I was just being falsely hopeful. It was like it was being confirmed for me — I AM his child. He HAS chosen me.
I felt a lot better and was greatly reassured, and I thanked God for giving my friend the words I needed to see. But Jesus still hadn’t finished speaking to me. The sermon started, and part of it was about three “woes.” To be honest the whole thing really spoke to me, but the first woe especially did. It was about guilt and condemnation. I think my jaw could have hit the floor! I think what helped me the most was to hear that guilt and condemnation is not from God. I often think that God must be angry with me and is pointing his finger at me, accusing me and blaming me. I guess I confuse God with Satan on that issue. So it was nice to hear that it isn’t from God, and to be reminded of how there is now no condemnation for us.
I felt hugely better, and to be honest I just wanted to tell everyone about how wonderful Jesus is, and the ways he had spoken to me! When I got home that night I spoke to Jesus and thanked him for speaking to me, and I remembered what my friend had said on Saturday, about how sometimes we have to wait. Jesus waited until the evening to answer me, but he answered me in wonderful and unexpected ways.
I was so happy and thankful that Jesus had spoken to me about the things that were troubling me, and reassured to know that he was still with me, even if I wasn’t aware of it. However, there was one final issue I had forgotten about. But Jesus hadn’t forgotten.
Just before going to bed I checked my e-mails. I had recently signed up for a daily devotional via e-mail. I had received one, and I opened the e-mail. It started off with Psalm 40:1–2. The first part says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.” I smiled as I thought again about how I had been told that we sometimes need to wait, and I was glad I had waited for God and kept speaking to him regardless. I was again reassured that he hears us, he listens, and that at the right time he will take action. He will answer us.
I started to read the devotional. It was about suicide. I was absolutely amazed. It ended by saying this: “It doesn’t matter how bad it gets, it doesn’t matter how dark or bleak it seems, Jesus is always, always in that place with you. Even when it doesn’t feel like he is…he is. And where he is, there is light and there is hope. When we find ourselves in that place — as we sometimes do — he’s there.”
I was so amazed, and I once again thanked Jesus for speaking to me. I had to wait, but he spoke to me about every single issue that was troubling me.
I suppose I want to end this by saying that sometimes we can feel as though God has left us. We can feel as though we are talking to the ceiling. We can wonder whether God is listening to us. Well, God has shown me that, even when we feel that way, he is there. Even when we can’t feel him there, he is still there. I think we need to just trust that he is still there and believe what he says, that he will never leave us, regardless of how we feel. I know it isn’t easy though. And whether we think he is there or not, I think we need to keep talking to him. He is still there, he is listening, and I believe he will answer us when the time is right. But yes, sometimes we have to wait.
I have also been shown by God that he really can bring good out of everything. I am now glad that things happened the way they did, even on Saturday night, because God was able to use it to prove to me that he is there and that he is listening. I think that if we keep trusting him, he will use everything for good.
I know it is something I still need to work on myself though. I know how easily we can forget things, even wonderful things like this. That is part of why I want to type these things up, so I can be reminded of it all. I also really hope that this might encourage and help someone else who needs reassurance that God is there and that he listens.
And if you are thinking, “Well, it’s okay for her, but God won’t listen to me…”, well, I’d just like to share with you that I think I am a terrible person. As I said before, I struggle massively with guilt and shame. I hate myself. I think I am an awful, terrible person. Yet God is with me, is listening to me, and is speaking to me. So I suppose I think that, if God is doing those things for me, why on earth wouldn’t he do that for you too?