Had God Abandoned Me?

I was 16 or 17, and I was struggling…

  • I was struggling with the kinds of desires and sins with which young men often struggle
  • I was struggling socially—I was trying to follow Jesus, but I felt this had led me to isolation from my peers
  • I also feared I had committed the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-30)

We had been to the beach on a certain day, and I had told God I didn’t want to follow Him anymore because I was having such a miserable time. But then I felt bad, and I asked Him to forgive me, and I told Him I would follow Him.

That night, as my family and I were watching the news on TV (I think it was the news… something about floods), I suddenly felt lonely—I felt as if God had left me (and the rest of humanity). Could it be that I had given up my salvation?

These thoughts led me through a terrifying and horrible experience—I felt lost, doomed, and damned. I kept telling God I was sorry, I kept telling Him I repented, but I did not feel forgiven, and I did not feel at peace.

Many nightmares followed, and one night I thought I could even see the flames of hell burning round about me.

Nevertheless, it is in the midst of this awful season in life that I also felt called by the Lord to serve Him—and it wasn’t out of guilt, but out of a genuine conviction that people need to know Jesus.

Needless to say, I was a mess, and I was confused.

When I tried to talk about it to some people, the answers I received were… blah. Not what I needed, wanted, or was looking for. The comfort I received was from a book on Christian counseling… and, at last, from a pastor/friend.

Eventually, it would take me two or three years to understand that Jesus had in fact paid for all my sins. The understanding came first, then the faith, then the feelings of peace, then the spiritual experiences.

Had God abandoned me? No, I do not believe God had abandoned me. Nevertheless, I believe He had allowed me to go through a personal trial to teach me a few lessons.

I think I had forgotten that, without Christ, I am a sinner. I think I had become somewhat legalistic in my thinking. I definitely believed in Jesus, and I definitely wanted to follow Him. However, I don’t think I had made the connection that I was indeed a sinner, and that I was saved by grace through faith. I think I really thought I was holier than thou.

So, I think God made sure I understood that I was a sinner, that He didn’t like sin, and that I was saved by His grace through faith.

And so, my brothers in Christ, when I teach the Bible and preach the gospel… 1 Timothy 1:15 feels very real to me. I certainly do not want to contend with St. Paul about who is the greater sinner—but the Lord has humbled me too.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5, KJV

Thank-you, Father, for giving Jesus for us. Thank-you, Jesus, for atoning for my sin. Amen.

Bible Reading Plan

Before you go, allow me to invite you to follow my Bible reading plan for this year. Although the plan is meant to help you read the Bible in one year, you can start following the plan at any time, and you can adjust it to your own pace.

The podcast episode below is based on passage read on the first week of the Bible reading plan.



The devotionals below are based on passages read on the first week of the Bible reading plan.

(About the image used on this post: Eugène Delacroix, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

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