Why does God Abandon Us?

As I'm sitting in the church in silent prayer, one of my favorite verses keeps coming to mind--Hosea 2:14. In this part of the book, God is condemning and punishing Israel for her crimes, saying that He will take all away from her. However, 2:14 reads "So I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert (wilderness) and speak to her heart". From there it goes on to say how God will restore and renew Israel. This caused me to ponder...what exactly is "wilderness" in a spiritual sense. Consider the following series of verses:

Matthew 4:1-11
Luke 5:1-11
Matthew 14:22-33
John 21

In a metaphorical sense, the wilderness is in some sense, a form of abandonment from God. Here, God in some way is not present to us. Also, it is an area of extreme discomfort or suffering. Many would call this a "Dark Night", however, I believe that is only one form that the wilderness may take. This is shown in the Bible by the "desert" (desolate, empty), and by the "ocean" (chaotic, unknown, uncomfortable).

Now...using these verses I came up with a 4 stage development concerning "wilderness":
1) God calls us to the wilderness and renews us (Hosea 2:16)
2) We begin to trust in God's will (Lk 5:1-11, Mt 14:22-33, Jn 21)
3) After calling/renewal, we recognize God (Mt 14:22-33)
4) Have been called, renewed, and recognized God...we are sent (Lk 5:1-11, Jn 21)

Let me now make my case:
1) God renews us in the wilderness. When we enter a "wilderness" (suffering, abandonment, ect.) we are there for a reason--because God has called us or allowed us to come there. By entering the wilderness we feel alone and in some way suffer, but, because God does not allow for any suffering without a purpose, this wilderness eventually "renews" us, and we are restored to a better state.

2) While in this wilderness, we must have trust that God will deliver us. Some examples of this are the disciples casting out their nets even when they had failed previously (Lk 5, Jn 21) and Peter trusting the Lord as he walked on water (Mt 14). We must trust that what God allows us to experience also brings us to fulfillment.  As soon as Peter began to doubt Jesus, he begin to sink, and as soon as they cast out their nets in good faith, they reaped bountifully.

3) After being renewed, and realizing that we have been called to this wilderness, we recognize God in it. Examples of this are the disciples recognizing Jesus after following His command to cast out their nets (Jn 21) and the disciples recognizing Him after Peter walked on water (Mt 14).  It is only once we act based off of our trust, that we recognize the effects that Christ has had on us while we were in the wilderness.  This is slightly parallel to the theological virtues, as faith and hope lead to the virtue of love.

4) Finally, after hearing the call, being renewed, and recognizing God in our experience, He sends us to evangelize in some way, usually better equipped or motivated than before. Examples of this are Jesus' temptation in the desert (after which we began his ministry and the "Sermon on the Mount") (Mt 4), the disciples dropping their nets and following Christ (Lk 5), Jesus' command to Peter, "feed my sheep" (Jn 21).  This encounter of Christ (like all encounters) leads to a complete change in the person and their ministry.  This shows that God allows us to suffer in order to prepare us for something greater.

I believe that, though this "formula" is not fully developed, it still gives evidence of a purpose and hope that is present in most any form of suffering or abandonment.  It is far from a Historical-Critical method of interpretation, but speaks to the very depths of the human experience.

© 2009 rdlang05

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Comments 14 comments

Saintatlarge profile image

Saintatlarge 6 years ago from Canada

Keep up the good work. Enjoyed your writing.

i think the best wilderness example is in 1Kings 19.8-18, when Elijah had a beautiful encounter with the Lord before he passed on his ministry to Elisha.

What a great loving God.

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 6 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thank you very much Saintatlarge, it's always good to get affirmation ;) . I too love that passage, I use it often when teaching youth that God speaks in silence. What a great loving God indeed.

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

I enjoyed reading your Hub. I am in the wilderness now. I know God brought me here for chastisement. And I know it is working to transform me for my next mission. Thanks for the fine read.

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 6 years ago from Minnesota Author


Thank you, I hope you remain strong and keep the faith while you are in the wilderness. God is already working wondrous deeds in you, I can tell by your hubs.

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Hey rdlang05, I too am from the great state of Minnesota and have actually been through Marshall. Thanks for visiting my hub. I like what you say above, but having lived in a desert climate since leaving Minnesota, I discovered a different interpretation of wilderness you might find interesting.

In the deserts of the heart

Let the healing fountain start.

—W.H. Auden

Mary Reynolds Thompson in Soulscapes writes, "Just as the vast and spacious deserts of the world cover about twenty percent of the land, so the desert Soulscape™ represents a significant, though infrequently visited, landscape within us. We come to the desert to transform. Here, winds named Khamsin, Sirocco, and Simoom make and remake the land unrecognizable, surprising. And here, too, death and disappointment reshape our inner landscape, inviting something new to be born within. Entering the desert Soulscape™, we also confront a world hell-bent on noise pollution, overpopulation, excess, and denial of death or suffering. As we make our pilgrimage to this holy place, we find wisdom and strength to lay bare the bones of our souls and to live more simply on the Earth."

It interests me to apply this to the above Biblical texts.

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 6 years ago from Minnesota Author

That is a beautiful interpretation. This is why dialogue on such matters is necessary if one is to broaden one's view of the world. Thank you Storytellers are us.

christinecook profile image

christinecook 6 years ago

funny isn't it. when we are really hungry,dying of thirst,and someone feeds us and offers us some water. how good it tastes. what a great meal we say !! sharing it boldly,telling others. the same applies spiritually for sure. how wonderful it is when your hungry and thirsty ,to then be fed by our Lord. Then even more beautiful is to share that dinner with others.

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 6 years ago from Minnesota Author


I too find it funny how much being hungering and thirsting for something can bring us closer too God. After all, in all things it is actually Him we thirst for!

HOOWANTSTONO profile image

HOOWANTSTONO 6 years ago

Gods plan is complete, and has made the possibility of "being in Christ" a reality and not only that but "Christ being in me" and we are one, so I don't seek Christ above or below, because he lives in me, by the name of "Holy Spirit"

That is Gods plan in a nutshell

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 6 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks for the thoughts, Hoo!

A.S.K.Preacher profile image

A.S.K.Preacher 5 years ago


Thanks. You know I have had some spiritual experiences in my life and allowed life to get in the way of my relationship with Jesus. When He finally woke me up I was in deep trouble! It has taken several years and I am beginning to see exactly what you have written about here. Thought I was a goner. God bless.


rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 5 years ago from Minnesota Author


Thanks for you comment! It's always good to hear from people who have had similar experiences. I'm glad you made it through your time of trial!

teacherjoe52 profile image

teacherjoe52 4 years ago

Veru good article.

Sometimes God allows us to go into te desert to burn off destructive habits or relationships. That is what happened to me.

As well when God says go here and we refuse and go there, of course He will not be with us because we are not in His will.

God bless.

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 4 years ago from Minnesota Author


Good point! Sometimes we choose the abandonment because of our actions.

Thanks for reading.

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