Everywhere you look today it seems we are met with more and more reports of churches in decline, people walking away from faith, and people giving up on God. Why this is happening? Unless we are willing to ask what I think can be some very real, but very difficult questions, we will never understand. Does God even deserve a second chance? Would God give me second chance? What would life be like if no one gave God a second chance and what could it be like if we did? All important questions. And we will try to find answers for these in the coming weeks.
But before we can consider any other questions, we have to start at what I believe is the fundamental question, the question that all the other questions are built on. Why did I give up on God?
I have to admit one of my glaring character flaws. There are many flaws I could pick from but one that always seems to jump out at me is my amazing ability to jump to a conclusion. I can make a snap judgment even when I know better. It is common on my house for my wife to come to me to start telling me about her day. Usually I hear about things the kids have done. Often there is a story of how one of the kids misbehaved or acted up in some way. Before she can get the full story out I am ready to act. I am ready to discipline the child who has been difficult. Usually this ends with my wife telling me she has already taken care of it and there is nothing left for me to do.
Has that ever happened to you? I can almost guarantee if you are married this has happened to you. You have jumped to a conclusion prematurely only later to find out your conclusion was wrong. When that happens in marriage though, if you are committed to the marriage and don’t see divorce as an option, you do what you can to work through the issue. In a dating relationship, though, if the issue is damaging enough, you might use the conflict as a reason to walk away.
I believe this is what happens in our relationship with God. Maybe you came to faith as a child and in childhood, it was great. But as you grew older, the rules that seem to come with religion seemed to be stifling. In high school, you saw your friends doing things that you wanted to do but “faith” kept you out of. In college, the stories of the Bible started getting picked apart and you began to see a huge rift between science and the Bible. And there were questions raised you couldn’t answer and gaps that seemed to be uncrossable.
Or maybe life just dealt you a bad hand. You’ve personally experienced trauma. You watched or are even now watching someone close to you suffer. And even though you have done your best to live a good life, you can’t make sense of why this has happened to you and it has caused you to doubt God. You doubt his goodness. And maybe you even begin to doubt his existence.
And what you‘ve found is that as you have grown up, what led you to faith as a child no longer seems valid. And we are faced with the question: what happens when the reason we came to faith is no longer good enough to keep us there? What happens is we slowly begin to give up on God.
Doubt Your Doubts
If this describes you and you have walked away from God, or if you are still trying to stay with God, but are really struggling, I would ask you if you are willing to question the reason you walked away in the first place. Was it really a good enough reason to walk away from faith? Was God truly the one to blame? Or could it be that God got the blame when there was really more at work than we want to admit or realize?
A Story of Giving Up
In the New Testament, we find a parable that Jesus told that gives us insight on reasons we might give up on God. In Luke 15, Jesus is giving his time and attention to those who needed him most, those who society had written off: the sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes.
In fact, there were a lot of “undesirables” attracted to him. One of the main criticisms against him was that “[Jesus] welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:2 NIV) To the religious people, this was seen as unacceptable. In a religious system that was incredibly concerned with staying pure and clean, associating with these type of people made Jesus unclean by association.
Jesus then begins teaching by using three parables about lost items: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. All three stories are tied together, but the last one shows us two individuals who gave up on their Father. Read Luke 15:11-32 here.
Reasons We Give Up on God
Reason 1: Giving Up By Choice
This is such a powerful story. It highlights for us the reason Jesus came to the earth. In this story we see that God himself came to earth to pursue those who were far from him offering forgiveness and love to those who will seek him and repent. But in it we also see why people might walk away from God. We first see this in the younger son at the beginning of the story.
The younger son looked at life and his current situation and thought, “You know what, the grass is greener over there so I am going over there. Sitting at home, working for dad, living under dad’s roof with dad’s rules, that’s not what I really want to do!” Before we become too critical of him though, we need to consider, have you been there before? I have a daughter there right now. We try to be sensitive to her as a twenty year old who has lived on her own for two years overseas, but there’s still difficulty.
What’s so amazing about this is that the younger son didn’t just pack his bags and leave. He goes to his dad and says, “I want what’s coming to me when you die. In fact, I want it right now.” As the younger son, he was entitled to 1/3 of the father’s estate. The older brother would get the other 2/3. By requesting his portion before his father’s death, this son is saying to the father, “I wish you were dead so I could have your money.” In this culture and time, it would have been perfectly acceptable for the father to respond negatively, to refuse the son’s request and even kick him out for requesting such a thing.
Such a request was at great personal risk to the father not to mention the emotional toil it would have had to hear you child say they wish you were dead. But the Father did it. And let’s not think the father was naive. He didn’t think that this son was going to go and start a new business to improve his financial situation. He knew the son. He knew this was going to be blown on “wild living.” But he gave the son his inheritance and allowed the son to leave.
What looks like the good life to the younger son was way more appealing than staying with the father. That is the trap many of us have fallen into. We think about Jesus and church and Christianity, and the furthest thought in our minds is “fun.” Entertainment, partying, success, the American dream, career, and kids’ activities can all have a greater appeal to us than a life of faith. This is the walking away from God that is solely our choice. On the surface it looks appealing. It even feels appealing. It is fun. Things that pull us away from God usually are. If sin wasn’t fun it wouldn’t be tempting.
Maybe this is you. Maybe you’ve walked away from God because you desired something that seemed more fun or better than what God had to offer. If it is you, please don’t hear judgment here. I am not trying to make you feel guilty. I would just ask you to consider this: is it really worth it?
One of the most difficult individuals to talk to about Jesus is one whose life seems to be ok. Jesus isn’t a part of it. Everything is going good. Life is good. Job is good. Family is good. And typically you are even a good person. You might donate to good causes and even donate some of your time to them. But when life is good, often we see no need for Jesus.
But… even when life is going well, if you are living the American dream, do you ever wonder if this is all there is? Do you wonder if there is more to life than this? Is there a greater purpose than just living, having a career, acquiring stuff, being active all the time?
When we look back at the parable Jesus told, we find a young man who willingly walked away from the Father, a Father who represents God. And after he blows through all his money, after he lives the good life, he finds himself empty, destitute, and in great need. Not just financially, but relationally. He finds himself all alone. No one cares about him enough to even give him food. He realizes that after he pursues everything that he thought would make him happy or give him purpose, he is empty.
Reason 2: Giving Up Because Something Happened to Me
There’s another aspect to the younger son we see keeps him from the Father. Something happens to him. A famine hits the land. He had zero control over this. It happened anyway, and he finds himself on the losing end of a bad economy; no food, no job, no anything. He was a victim of circumstances. And this may be a bigger reason people move away from God.
Something happens to you. You lose your job even though you were a good employee. You don’t get into the school or program you wanted. Your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse decides to end the relationship and you didn’t see it coming. A parent dies when you are young. Your child is diagnosed with an incurable disease. When life deals us a bad hand, it is very easy to get angry with God and to feel wronged by him. We wonder where is God in this? Why is he not answering my prayers? Why is he not healing my child? We wonder, where is God?
We blame God for what we are going through. We feel so out of control that we NEED to blame someone and God is just as good as anyone. And because we pin it on God, we find ourselves getting angry and disconnected until we finally convince ourselves God doesn’t care, that God is not good. God must be absent.
But what if God isn’t the one doing these things to you? What if instead of seeing God as a distant, uncaring deity, in reality he is a loving Father? What if instead of seeing him as the harsh judge sitting over it all, disconnected and unloving, what if he is the loving Father whose heart breaks every time your heart breaks? What if instead of blaming God, we realize that maybe it isn’t God’s fault? We realize that we live in a broken world full of broken people. God has taken it upon himself to make right what is wrong, even taking the brokenness upon himself in the person of Jesus Christ. He is actively working to bring about a day when once and for all, all pain and all suffering, and all heartache would be wiped away.
Please don’t read into what I am saying. I am not telling you that you don’t have the right to be upset or angry. What I am telling you is that God is with you. He comforts those who mourn. He is with us in our suffering. He never leaves us or abandons us, even though at times it may feel like he has.
Is it possible that God isn’t to blame for what you are experiencing and that even though it may look like he’s abandoned you, he’s been with you the entire time?
Reason 3: Giving Up and Staying Religious
There’s a third perspective from the story that I believe is equally important. It is seen in the older brother. What is interesting about the older brother is that physically, he never leaves the Father. He never walks away, but as he interacts with his dad, we see that he may be physically present, but he certainly isn’t present in any other way.
This is the person who does all the right things and says all the right answers, but God is nothing more than an insurance policy to getting what they want out of life. And apart from showing up at church occasionally and maybe dropping a $20 in the offering plate every once in a while, there is no evidence of God in their life at all.
This person looks at the message of Christ and gets angry. Angry because the grace and love that Jesus offers, especially to those who don’t deserve it, seems so reckless. “I’ve been a good person,” they reason. “I’ve believed the right things. I’ve earned my status with God,” so they think.
The problem with this thinking is that it isn’t the gospel. This isn’t Jesus. In fact, it is what Jesus came to correct, those who honor him with their lips but their hearts are far from him. This person would never admit to giving up on God, but their faith is really in themselves. They really have no need for Jesus or the cross. They are so good that they believe God actually owes them. This giving up actually has to confront the question, “Who are you really trusting in?” Maybe you wouldn’t say you’ve given up on God but have you trusted more in yourself that in God?
Reason 4: Bad Theology
There are other reasons than what we get from this story as to why people give up on God.
We could talk about bad theology. Our faith is built more on tweets and bumper stickers than on Jesus. A friend shared a story this week about his brother who when he was in high school attended a youth group meeting. The leader called everyone down to the altar and told them not to leave until they “had experienced God”. One by one teens got up and left the building. In the end, this friend’s brother was there by himself. He prayed and prayed for God to reveal himself. He desperately wanted to experience God, but nothing happened. Finally he got up and walked out of that church and walked away from God.
Why did he do this? Bad theology. God doesn’t always reveal himself to everyone the same way. And to put pressure on someone like this is asking for disaster. We could go on all day listing the bad theology we believe. Yes it looks good on a bumper sticker, but it is dangerous when real life hits and we are looking for answers. Bad theology leads to inaccurate beliefs and unmet expectations.
Reason 5: Bad Christians
Another reason we give up on God could be bad Christians. You know them. The judgmentalism, the hypocrisy, the close-mindedness, the unloving ways they treat one another and others. The history of Christianity certainly shows us many times we were at our worst.
What we need to realize is that families have “stuff.” I am flawed. You are flawed. There are no perfect families. There are no perfect churches.
Just this past week, Pastor Stephen from Alive Church shared with me that so many Africans who come to America end up walking away from God. Why? Because a big struggle for them is approval. They want to be seen on the same level as Americans. They want approval and to be seen as equals. And as Stephen said, “Because they can’t find approval in the church, they go look for it elsewhere.”
Don’t allow the imperfection of those who are sincerely trying to follow Jesus to keep you from giving God another chance.
Is God Really to Blame?
When you think about God, faith and religion, I get it. This faith thing, following Jesus isn’t some “nicely-all-answers-come-neatly-packaged-with-a-little-bow-on-top” kind of thing.
Even so, what I want to make sure you hear is simply this: What if the reason you gave up on God wasn’t really a good reason to give up? Could it be you blamed God for something that wasn’t his fault? Were you taught something that has given you the wrong impression about him? Was it the imperfection of someone else that has pushed you away?
I realize that this post doesn’t really give you a single answer as to why you should give God a second chance. For that, you will need to check out the next post. But right now, all I would ask is to evaluate why you gave up in the first place? And is there any room for the possibility that God might deserve a second look in your life?
Join the Conversation
If you would like to talk with somebody about faith, your struggles with God, or have questions you would like to discuss, please leave a comment below and we would love to join you in your faith journey and walk with you as you wrestle with these big issues.
I’m surprised that there are no comments for this. All I know is that I am guilty of walking away… for reasons I have yet to fully evaluate.. mainly a combination of all of the above..
The other part of all of this. … is not knowing where the relationship, or possibility of any future relationship truly stands…
I second those thoughts!
Like the article says, we understand the reasons for giving up on God. But our hope is that you might recognize the significance of walking away from the one who created everything and loves you so much. Is there a way to find your way back to him? Would you be willing to take that risk?
I have been deceived by the so called good life where my heart was actually very far from God without realizing that. Now I have difficulty coming back to God and this would require a change in heart something that is difficult for me to switch to. Please keep me in prayer for God to change and softened me to His light which I am blinded to now
I have never waled away from God . Been mad at him darn right. Is it his fault no is it mine usually. I realized after all is said and done no one is perfect not even Christians but we are more aware of the not so right decisions we may make sometimes. An I pray to God every night to forgive me for all the dumb and selfish things I do daily
The only thing that bothers me about this is that it seems to misappropriate the Prodigal Son parable, which in its historical context may be dealing with Israel and Gentiles (the Gentiles being the ones who ‘went astray’ and came back), or it may be more about the graciousness of the Father figure and how he handles wandering vagabonds and religious ideologues.
But the explanation offered here seems to indirectly deny the sovereignty of God. It never allows that it is God who assigns our suffering, our dark times, quite possibly to drive us to seek him. (Think ‘Job’, Psalm 88, Psalm 22, etc.. and all those places the Christ figure says to expect difficulties if one follows/believes him). So, as Job, I say, “Yes, sometimes it is God’s fault that we are going through the flames and the feces of life.” None of us asked to be created, to suffer, to seek for a Creator who never reveals himself personally/experientially/evidentially. Sure, sure, we can all read the ‘Bible’, but we can’t vicariously live out the same things we read about. No suns standing still over valleys. No waters parting. No lame men walking and leaping. No jar of oil running out, etc. You get the idea. If God is still ‘God’, why are there no miracles, no explanations, no answers, no prophecies? Most important to the doubting: why no help even when the ‘Bible’ says all throughout to call to this God and he will help? (I’m using those rhetorically, as a skeptic would.) Your article has in a sense answered nothing, though it may have helped you ‘feel’ better. Truth is, the Hebrew view of YHWH Elohim was of a God that was omnipotent (see the miracles), omniscient (otherwise all prophecies make no sense; just guesses), omnibenevolent (able to provide instantly), omnipresent, etc.. But when one steps back and starts really asking logical/rational questions of the ancient texts, combined with the lack of evidence at the experiential/personal level (other than confirmation bias…i.e., God answered my prayers because ‘x’ happened…) one has to seriously consider, “Is the God the Bible speaks of real, or just the Hebrew version/view of whatever it is that made us?”
But the main thing this article left out was that most people turn from God because of UNANSWERED PRAYER. That’s it in a nutshell. And one could offer multiple theories as to why that is (like Job’s ‘friends’ did with him) but no explanation, however valid, can assuage the grieving and questioning heart. Just some things to think about.
Thank you for articulating so clearly what I have long suspected and finally experienced. Unanswered prayer (for protection) is what brought me to questioning his might.
I am re-evaluating what I have been taught and believed for forty-eight years of my life. I am walking away. The God I was brought up to believe in may very well be something I had learned to plug into spaces where things do not make sense to me. He has finally proven to be that bad partner that I have given all benefit of doubt and tenuously provided explanations in moments where he did not live up to his promises. This is not who I am in my daily life but, apparently, it’s who I am spiritually – I make excuses for someone who does not live up to his promises.
As it is, I’m currently struggling and embarrassed for having touted his name even when I was going through a difficult time only to end up in a pitiful situation not of my making. I have been thinking of those characters in the bible whose faith in him was so strong and yet they ended up experiencing extreme suffering no human being should have to go through. I’m thinking of John, Paul, Simon, Job, Joseph, David the apple of his eye. The fact that John’s head ended up on a silver platter to appease someone who did not share his faith or, that a “father” left his son hanging on the cross until the son cried out why he had left him or, asking Abraham to sacrifice his son to prove loyalty, all make me wonder about the grace and mercy of this Being. How mighty is this Almighty? How sovereign is he? Why does he demand so much of his followers? Who is he? Why would he even care about me?
Please don’t hesitate to pray for me as I walk away. I am not sure what I believe in now. Matthew 5:45 says the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Here we are.
Brent Clark Author
Thanks for taking the time to comment and express what I sense to be very real struggles in understanding who God is and how he could allow the world to be the way it is. These are the big existential questions humanity has wrestled with since creation. Unfortunately, too often, our faith has tried to provide nice, tidy answers to the questions that don’t have nice, tidy answers. And asking such questions has been frowned upon and discouraged.
I believe that the questions you are asking now have the potential to either draw you towards God or allow you to walk away from faith. While these are difficult questions to wrestle with, I know that seeing them exclusively through a western worldview can create greater tension. We assume that if there was a God and he is all-powerful, he would never allow bad things to happen. We forget that God, in his divine patience, is working things out towards an end that will one day remove all pain and heartache once and for all. But until then, it is his patience that bears with us as we wrestle with these questions but also groans with us as we endure the pain.
We have to see what God has done and continues to do on our behalf. It wasn’t God punishing his Son on the cross until he cried out. It was God himself, God the Son, on the cross, defeating sin, death, and the grave, inserting himself into our difficulty and pain. Romans 8 speaks a lot about the current groaning of creation and how God is working the present suffering toward the new creation, a new heaven, and a new earth.
I know that a quick reply to a blog comment doesn’t answer everything fully (if answer anything at all). But don’t give up yet. Keep exploring. Check out the writings of scholars like N.T. Wright (here and here) and others who are working to help shed light on such difficult issues.
God is a sadistic piece of s*** who deserves contempt, not praise.
Read about God’s bet with Satan to wreck Job’s life without an explanation. And how he had to give Job a new family and animals at the end of his torture session because the old ones were still dead……
Loving God, you say. Well, look at the world around you. Would an enlightened deity create something as messed up as this place? Isn’t God actually the Devil?
After years and years of being faithful. Reading the word, I’m not perfect but my heart is right. Years and years of crying out, fasting , and being a good servant , I’m giving up at the thought or belief of God. At this point it’s a mythical creature. Teachers /Preachers of the word talk about scriptures to read and follow. Promises if we do this , God is faithful to answer, How God is working even though we can’t see it. My question . If God is such a “good good Father”, why does he ignore. our pleas? Why does such a good Father who is omnipresent watch while his children suffer? My house is full of bibles, religious books, religious papers, I’ve used and written over many years . It’s a waste. A waste of resources and time. I’ve not asked for riches. I’ve asked for table scraps bc others are in greater need. I help others always., so much more I could say but over the years God ( if he is ) has shown favor to one’s that have abused me. Was it wrong for me to not avenge myself but give that to who I thought would take it from me? I put all my hope in God and have received no comfort , no care, no acknowledgement he is even or ever heard me. As a mother, I could never not comfort and care for my own children. To me, God has shown me is unreachable and does not treat us equally.
People are christian for one of two reasons: 1. They were raised in the church and indoctrinated at an early age and 2. As adults, they failed at something and chalked their failure up to “god’s will.” Personally, I stopped believing in doctrines that don’t Empower me.
Brent Clark Author
I have to wonder if it is a bit short-sighted to think there are only two reasons people might have faith. I believe there have to be many more reasons than these.
I am curious, what would you consider to be a doctrine that empowers you?
Thanks for the comment!
I second the comment above this with some added notes. I’ve been a Christian for 20+ years and we are always quick to point the blame back to ourselves. Is God really causing these things or is it just life – don’t blame God! And then we pat one another on the head and remind each other that we’re going to suffer but God’s near. But when it IS you that’s suffering, and you break it down, it no longer makes sense. Sure maybe God didn’t “do” any of these bad things to us but….where’s the rescue? He says call to Me and I’ll answer you. He said the faith of a mustard seed can move mountains and change things….yet people continue to die or suffer. Circumstances don’t change. And isn’t that where we see God? Isn’t that why He did miracles – so people could see who He is? And then, yes, unanswered prayer. What happens when you plead with God for something, you feel He’s made you a promise, you wait you do all the things just right….and nothing happens. He doesn’t rescue you. Your worst nightmare happens and then to add insult to injury, when you call on God….He’s MIA. And we throw verses out like “He’s near to the brokenhearted” but, I’ve discovered, all that means is that I have to mentally trick myself to believe that. There’s no warm fuzzy feeling that overtakes me, no peace that somehow things will work out. And why can’t we explain things like the Holocaust? Why can’t we explain why there aren’t healings anymore. Why when a whole church prays for someone with cancer, they still die. Why I know a completely faithful and God-loving 40 year old whose sole desire is to be married and she’s never had a boyfriend? How do we explain these things when we constantly remind each other God loves us. He’s for us?
“Indivisible tensions lay thick throughout the air. Blacketed by is weight it’s what is impossible to bear. On the steps of the pathway father must have knowingly paved, I hoped to one day follow but now I rue the day. As I approach His blurred form, He’s silent like a corpes. A funeral atmosphere comparison clouds every thought. There are no bereaved or mourners as should be the due course. In the wake of all the sacrifice witnessed from the cataflaque. You sat there silent and guided in ways inconceivable while we Your childeren chased a goal that was unachievable. In our naivety we mistook Your brilliance for warmth. Confused by Your blinding light I thought myself as your son. Now everything we sacrificed for You have called into doubt. How could I trust Your guidance amidst all the secrets you keep out. I know now You will let me live any lie that I need to, so long as I cover the needs You have deemed that I see to”
This is how I’ve come to interpret God. To me He cares for a few and cares not for the many who have sought Him earnestly. I’m part of the many I believe He does not care for. More like a tool than anything.
What “if” a frog had wings? He probably wouldn’t bump his rear end every time he jumped. So, in response to this article I have only one question. Who is in charge? Its funny to me how God is always in charge until something bad comes along and then its not God’s fault. So am I praying to the wrong person? Is he only “in charge” when its convenient for him to be in charge? Or how about hate? God said he hated Esau, its right there in scripture. But then people like yourself come along and say God doesn’t hate anybody. Maybe you all need to get your story straight. Because the evidence clearly shows God is not doing anything currently. With all the injustices piling up and yet he does nothing about it. You ever consider that possibility as to why people leave God. The bottom line is if he can’t/won’t do anything about it then who will do something about it? That’s the one we need right now. So if God wants to call himself just then maybe he should be just. Instead of empty words about what is right/wrong etc. Actions speak louder than words. Maybe you should remember all of this before brow beating folks for walking away from an absentee landlord of a God who does nothing to help us. I didn’t ask for this and I don’t believe any Christian did. But he made us anyways and forced us into this. Maybe you and God should consider that this life has been so bad that I don’t want another one. I don’t care what he or anybody else has to offer I don’t want to exist again in any way shape or form. If its that bad for me, and I’ve seen others who feel the same, that should tell you want a pathetic job has been done so far. We don’t want your comfort, we want him to fix it. If he can’t fix it after stating that all things were possible thru him then he’s just boasting and not at all powerful like he claims to be. Step up God or step off
Pilgrim On Earth
Most brutally honest and Truthful thing I read in a Long long time!!!!
Make Yourself manifest…..or hit the door.
I’m done with the prayers. God is going to do what he wants and not do what he doesn’t want. If the answer is sometimes “no” then I could get the same result by asking an oak tree. I’m finished! No more! I’m tired of being punched in my face.
Brent Clark Author
Joel, Thank you for your comment and the honesty about your struggle with God. I understand it can seem as though prayer is nothing more than an exercise in futility. But I do believe that if we continue to seek God, he will reveal himself to us in ways we could never imagine. The mystery of God is greater than this blog post or even this reply could encompass. But I know that the God I see represented in Jesus in the New Testament shows a God who does care for you and knows the depths of our pain and struggle. And even though it may not be in our timing or in the way we would have preferred, God is working on your behalf. Don’t give up. Please let me know if we can pray for or with you in whatever it is you might be going through. To reach out in a less public way, go here: https://ashworth.church/make-a-difference/prayer/
I’m afraid that I just no longer trust God with any potential offspring of mine. Therefore I’ve decided not to have any. I wouldn’t say that I’m “walking away,” however I don’t find him to be very reliable. Too much of further punishing victims and not enough of punishing offenders.
Brent Clark Author
Joel, Thanks so much for commenting. I think most of us have been where you are in having things happen to us that make it difficult to trust God. Let me encourage you. When it seems like victims receive more punishment than the offenders, remember it was Jesus who took on himself the punishment on our behalf. And while it may not all be “fixed” now, we know that what we see in the self-sacrifice of Jesus for us was only the beginning of God’s restorative work in making all things new.
I am now at an old age (60+) and thought I was a believer as I grew in a Christian background, family and friends. Until recently, I have realised that only born again believers were saved and not otherwise. I have believed in wrong theology as I thought being born again in the Holy Spirit was an option in being a true believer. Shattered now in knowing that I deceived myself all these years into thinking I was actually a Christian when I was not. Old habits die hard and I have difficulty now turning back wholly to Jesus as I have lived my life at arms length with Him and not given in fully to Him and His Word. I may have become like Judas Iscariot who is now disillusioned with the faith I once professed as the demands on my submission is far greater than I am comfortable with. Thank lease keep me in your loop as I need to grasp and come to terms with my spiritual state which is hardened at at this point. Appreciate your advise and counsel. Thank you!
Andrew, thanks for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment. As I read what you wrote, several thoughts came to my mind. First of all, I want to clarify that the term “born again” comes from John 3 and is not tied to the charismatic or pentecostal movement. It simply means that by trusting in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, the Spirit of God will come and dwell within you. You are saved by this gift of God’s grace and not by any good deeds you might do. Second, I hear a sadness in your message, which makes me feel like perhaps you still have a desire to be connected to Jesus. Telling yourself you are like Judas may be the enemies ploy to turn you away from God when at this moment he is holding his arms wide open for you to come to him. When you mention the demands on your submission being far greater, I wonder if you are believing the lies that you have to be good enough and do everything right enough to please God? Jesus invites all who are weary to come to him. It sounds to me like you may very well be exactly who Jesus is talking about. If you check out our values, we say Jesus care more about relationships than religion. I encourage you to stop focusing on the demands at this moment and instead ask Jesus to meet you where you are, with your doubts and all. If you want to discuss further, leave another comment.
Ryan, thank you for the sharing and godly counsel. I wrote the last comment sent as I still fear I have become apostate and reprobate. Reading the Bible now seems far more offensive than before as I am now aware of traps of easy believism and sin that I have fallen into. I experience many “dark nights of the soul” now and fear I am one of the goats and not sheep on the end. Appreciate if you can keep me in prayer.
Thank you for this post. I have turned away from God during my 5 years of being a Christian the longest being a week. The time away has always been terrible but this last one of all was the worst. I wanted to be away from God because I didn’t feel transformed by His word and I felt I was deceiving myself. I then felt a peace come over me but I rejected that peace because I came to want Christ most of all. If I keep rejecting Christ will He still forgive me and why do you think I felt this peace when I decided to let go. I appreciate your thoughts.
Brent Clark Author
First, thanks for the comment and for reaching out. We all go through times where we don’t feel transformed or dry (even pastors!) Following Jesus is rarely a straight line but often has ups and downs, times we feel transformed by Jesus, and times we can feel like we are going through the religious motions. I believe that as long as we are seeking, Jesus will not reject us. When we think about following Jesus, we can assume it means a lot of religious activity or rituals. But Jesus tells us that when we surrender to him, his burden is light. That doesn’t mean life gets easy. It does mean that we can put our trust in him to carry us through even when we face the greatest challenges.
Why did it feel lighter when you let go? I don’t know that I have a good answer for that, but it could be that you’ve been trying to do this on your own. Do you have a faith community that you can talk to or that can help you in this? Having others around you that support you, encourage you, and pray for you during this time could be a great help in keeping you focused on Jesus.
I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to reach out again if you have more questions or if there is any way we can be of help.
the same thing is happening to me that happens to crystal, i feel peaceful when i decided to let go of God, somehow im not bombarded with negative thoughts and the sense of uneasiness that has been tormenting me for a long time, i am statrkng to think whether the God that ive been serving and praying to is actually not the real God real. i know this is something terrible to say but it is the truth of how i feel, please forgive me fo this.
Since the age of 5, as a 5 yr Old could remember,laying in the back yard looking up at the clouds,memories of talking to someone I couldn’t see..going to Sunday school,singing yes Jesus loves ❤️ me the bible tells me so. Who was this person I couldn’t see .but I just knew something was there,yrs roll by I’m now 12,at some youth group meeting..theres a call ,to ask Jesus into my life..I felt this amazing tug on my heart..which made me walk out to the pastor,I never really understood back then what happened,I became a very rebellious teenager..many yrs lost in the horror of darkness .at 17 I tried again..another church meeting….this time there was a freedom I’d never had before..all my addictions left me .for 5 amazing mths I was free,then a test of lust came, I didn’t understand,I had a baby his father never wanted .then a very dark road kept me Lost for 20 yrs
I’ll leave my story there for now .
PS I am back with Jesus ..2 Cont
So 20yrs lost in thoughts of how did I get here, lost my marriage & 3 children, who are now adults who want nothing to do with me . addictions upon addictions..I looked back at my younger yrs,I use to really care about others, but when I was only thinking of my own pain..
And looking for someone to blame, I actually felt my heart starting to turn to stone ..for me to survive Mentally /Emotionally
My heart had to harden, and that’s when the horror really began..when I lost the ability to cry..,it’s like poison invades your very being .. there’s no release.. so I became what I call Road Kill, those huge cane toads,you see that flat on the highway .. living Dead Deb..lol
If I’d continued on like this..I so believe I wouldn’t be writting this .I’m so sorry for bad gramma,I hope it’s not too hard to read..
Homeless, lost , lonely …and finally at a end to myself…I always kept my Bible near my bed..I never could pick it up,full of guilt, I tried to pray,but what’s the point,I’ll never be good enough ..I always thought God wouldn’t want me,until I had everything perfect..and then I would be allowed to talk to him..
Then the news came my mother had breast cancer,we hadn’t spoke for most of those 20yrs..we would fight like cats & Dogs So I hope it’s ok to tell my story.. I hope by the time I’m finished ..It may help someone..Jesus Wins 2cont
Debra Russell Russell
So I knew in my heart I had to get back to be near my mum, I picked up my Bible,I couldn’t bring myself to read it,I just held it close to my heart, I prayed God please help my mum,help me to be near her again, I just knew at that moment she would be ok..there was a peace . I hardly had any money ,had no idea how I was going to move,I was fighting so many bad addictions, God heard my prayers, Doors opened everywhere, to be honest God moved so quickly, I was back living in my home town,before I knew it, . Mums cancer was caught early ,..while all this was going on,my dad tried to kill himself with weed killer..now both my parents were in a bad place,as I’d been away mostly for 20 yrs, I had no idea. they had been fighting Alot ,due to dad’s mental health with bipolar.. God Is Amazing 2 cont
I have lost everything my family maybe my home I owe irs due to my dead husband not filing taxes. I pray constantly and am in such a state of depression I just want to die. Where is God? I pray and cry out to him. I have had faith in him since I was young. Now no more blessings. At the end of my rope.
Brent Clark Author
I am so sorry for what you are going through. During this challenging time, I hope you can reach out to a church, a community of people who can walk with you through this. Sometimes when we can’t see or feel God, the faith of others can help sustain us through our most difficult times. And remember, God has not left you or given up on you even when it feels like it.
We will be praying for you.
Bad theology? I wonder if that was my nope moment. I grew up in a Christian boarding school, then tossed into to other religious schools. I could never live to the standards . I knew I was like warm, straddling the fence. and I knew God hated that more. Knowing I would never be able to maintain that righteousness left me saying I don’t wanna piss him off more. Take my name from the book of life . This is the side I’ll choose , rebellion against you. And went on my way, finding myself in the military and then over seas. And have already been living a drunken sex crazed life. Lies deceiving cheating stealing ( sometimes acquiring as the military puts it) but no regard for God. But I did pray in times when oh no. Oh no. This is it moments arose. But safely back home. The real battle began. Immediately drinking as self medication . As pills were thrown in every derivation by doctors with no clue what was wrong with me. Fast forward to making my self broke on experimental therapies. Form emotional trauma which is far beyond my over seas time. But just absolute sadness then chronic pain. Getting out of bed is absolutely torture. I thought for a time this is God, punishing me. Maybe this is my time to fast to pray to find God , and oh how my black heart repents. How I cry out, I give thanks I try to praise him and worship ( I don’t sing out loud I believe that’s just true for all living things. But when oh lord will you mercy fall upon me, why oh lord can I not forgive myself. How can I except your forgiveness? I can’t feel it. I can’t hear you I can’t see you. This is separation from God at this moment in my life, I brought it upon myself. I’ve cursed and blamed him. Who can count the evils against him I’ve done? But he isn’t here, is it my depression that blocks him and the loneliness stays. Don’t give up on God don’t turn from God, leave it at his feet. But gravity throws it right back down upon me with force. All I have left is God but he doesn’t want me. It feels to late, and of course it’s never to late. But I watch sermons promising healing he’s a healing God. So may are sick suffering and in pain. And people get insanely wealthy being a motivational speaker. Because the healing doesn’t come . But they got paid and people will always be sick and without awnsers. I ask badly sometimes and so humbled others. I sit in pain all day and all through the night year after year and Gods presence is not found. I asked but did not receive. I’m to tired to seek anymore, my arms to heavy to knock. What am I to do? It feels like not bothering him would please him more then the shame guilt and repentance I have given. So for me. And I’m not sure if I’m alone? It’s maybe I’m just to far gone to broken in sin, and his desire is truly for me to leave him be. He’s busy with those who have loved him. My heart is broken I can’t even feel love, I only know in my mind that I love him, and been trying to love him with my body, but my heart is dead. Has it been hardened for a purpose? So , that’s what I’m going through. Why I wanna turn from God, just to to upset him anymore. ( yes I see doctors for my issues) but they don’t help. Something else I’ve asked for, at least let the medicine relive even one thing… but here I am, still lost still broken pleading with a God that has no time for me. So it feels. I can assure anyone who is tempted to leave, there is only pain at the end of that road. And feeling like you’ve lost him forever, that’s nothing you want to ever face.
Hey I know I’m a little late to this article.. first of all I am a Christian and I know God loves me. I’ve been through so much with only being 23 and a Christian for 5 years. I feel like a baby Christian who wants to be held like before but is being taught to mature. To truly want God.
I got myself into an unyoked marriage but God saved it.
I got myself into pot addiction but God restored it.
I got myself into false idols and God destroyed them.
But after about 3 months of this horrible struggle with bad theology that I’ve created and or other people, now I’m going back to it. I know it’s horrible to go back to places that God has delivered me from but when I’m struggling so much and failing so much it pushes me to just do what I want. KNOWING THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES. Everything is falling apart.
I don’t know how non believers do it I don’t. I like having someone HUGE to fall onto when I’m drowning.
But my flesh just does not want to come off and Ive often wondered why God has kept me alive on earth and not taken me home. I feel like the prodigal son, and I feel like him ALL THE TIME. I feel like Jacob when he wrestled with God or the angel. Ironically my name is Jacob. But I am such a fool and would like prayer please!!! I can’t tell you how many radio broadcasts or articles I’ve asked to pray for me.