When Faith Fails You
Ever been angry with God? I have. In fact, I have been guilty of this many times. I know of people who have been angry with God for years and refuse to look His way anymore. They hold on to past hurts and memories, never healing or wanting to heal. They feel God has let them down and do not want anything to do with Him. Many are fueled by their anger and feel as if that is all they have to hold on to, while rejecting the love and comfort of a forgiving and merciful God that can give them the healing they need.
Even though I have seen the wonders God has performed in the life of others and heard many testimonies, I can only write from my own experiences and of my own testimonies in my walk with Christ. This story is not just about my anger with God, but about my self-doubts, faithlessness, my disbelief, stubbornness, and ultimately my intimate relationship with God. It is about why God came to call me “Faithful Daughter” during one of my lowest times. It was the name spoken to me in the midst of tears and anguish in an answer to a prayer.
Some will tell you faith is not something you can acquire instantly; I can relate to that. With me, it did not begin the moment I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. This journey of faith was a long one, and it became a journey full of bumps, obstacles, and many, many mistakes. Then why did God chose to call me by such a name? Even years after accepting the Lord in my life, I felt far from being faithful.
More than once, I turned my back on God, angry with Him because I could not understand why He would allow things to happen in my life or the life of a loved one. One of those things was accepting the death of my mother. I remember faithfully praying and praying for her healing, believing in the healing power of Jesus, believing in the false hope others gave me that she “was healed.” My journey with Jesus was a journey of powerful lessons, lessons of trust and of disappointments.
When my mother passed away at the young age of sixty-eight, I felt God had let me down. I could not believe what others were telling me about God anymore. I felt God did let people down. However, it was through this rough time in my life that I learned a valuable lesson. I learned that just because we pray for something or just because you “believe” it, it does not instantly put God in a place where He has to deliver. Nor do circumstances have to go the way we want it to go just because we tell God how things should go. Who are we to tell God when and how to do things? Then when things do not go our way, why do we get angry and disappointed with Him for not delivering? This was a very humbling lesson in my life that put many things into perspective.
I thought I was being a good daughter because I prayed, read my bible, and did all the things I felt God wanted me to do. I thought I had a relationship with Him. Why wouldn’t God answer my prayers? Little did I know that our relationship would be tested and shaken to the very core not just through the experience of losing my mother but also throughout many circumstances in my life.
Still now, after many years of walking in faith, I am still tested. I am continually tested through chronic health problems. There are days I feel as if I cannot go on. I am filled with doubts about my future, and ask myself often what would happen if I were not able to work and support myself anymore? Who then will take care of me when I can’t take care of myself? Then I am reminded and comforted by God’s promise in Isa 46:4 “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
However, there have been times where I have reached a point where scriptures did not bring me comfort and I would pray, a dry prayer, devoid of emotion or feeling, asking God to rescue me. Fully aware that I should not base my trust in God by how I felt but by the knowledge that He is there for me, whether I felt Him or not. I learned through the years that God is faithful and will come through, maybe not in the way we expect or want, but He does come through. It is through this learning process that we are truly tested.
What do we do then when our prayers are not being answered? When things seem to take a turn for the worse with no relief in sight? Do we continue to unwaveringly hold on to our faith and develop a stronger relationship with our God or do we give up, disheartened and defeated, and fall away from Christ? It is different for many, some do fall away and some do struggle and hold on, but if you are in a place right now where you feel your faith is slipping, do not despair, there is hope. In the end, it’s about what’s in your heart.
In my many moments of doubts, I have often asked God [and myself], with all my imperfections, self-doubts, and many, many moments of faithlessness, how can God call me Faithful Daughter? I felt I was undeserving of such an honorable term. What did God see in me to bless me and anoint me with such a name? I felt unworthy, and many times a failure and a disappointment to God.
People often approach me, maybe seeing something in me that I do not see in myself, asking if I would help them in their faith and bring them closer to God, and I think to myself “how am I going to help others when I cannot even help myself?” Yet, even when I felt there was nothing left of me to scrape at the bottom of the barrel, God empowered me each time and instructed me on what to say when the situation rose. In empowering and helping others, God also empowered and helped me.
Then my health took a turn for the worse and I was sure this was going to be a turning point in my life. Prayer did not seem to bring the peace and comfort I desperately needed, and I felt as if I was losing my faith. In anger, I said, “God even though I’ve never seen you, I’ve always believed in you and held on to my faith, but unless you show yourself, manifest yourself in some way, I will certainly lose my faith. You have to give me something to continue to believe that I worship a living God and not some myth! God… speak to me!” Yet I did not hear from God. It was not until much later that God’s answer finally came to me.
Days passed. I felt numb. My situation was not getting better and I had no desire to pray or talk to God. People continued to e-mail me and message me asking for prayer and spiritual help, yet I had no desire to do so; I felt it was useless. It was during this season of doubt and turmoil I happened to come across something on television. I believe it was titled “Is the devil real?” but I cannot recall.
I watched the video until the end, and although I do believe Satan exists, I was convinced that many of the people who proclaimed to be possessed by demons were simply suffering from mental illness due to years of abuse, depression or addiction to drugs and alcohol. Yet, this gave me an opportunity to re-examine my faith; it made me ask if I wanted to live a life devoid of God.
Was not the purpose of Satan to see God’s children fall away and separate them from God? To convince them that there is no God? There is a lot of evil in the world and without God in my life, I would be at the mercy of Satan. Suddenly the veil was removed from my eyes and I humbly asked God for forgiveness; however, deep down I was still a bit angry with God for allowing some things in my life and not answering me the way I wanted him to.
Yet still feeling vulnerable and with a sense of worthlessness, I began to reflect on the name God called me many years ago and asked again why did He call me "Faithful Daughter." I remember thinking “God, I have not acted like a faithful daughter and should not even go by that name anymore. I have doubted and have acted unfaithful, then I turn around and come back to you; I am a failure…,” and then God answered me,
”that is why I call you Faithful Daughter, because you always come back to me.”
I discovered that day that I had never lost my faith and God knew this, that's why He has never given up on me. Although I waivered and doubted, and made many, many mistakes including turning my back on Him many times, God was never far. He never lost sight of me, and He will never lose sight of you. He knows our hearts, and He knows what we are going through. Sometimes we go through tantrums and pouting moments, and as a good Father He will not give in. He will let us simmer for a while, maybe even years, until we are ready to listen and learn.
We are like lost sheep, but we have a good shepherd that knows when one of His sheep is lost and needs help, I am no exception. If you feel lost and unworthy of God’s love because you feel you failed him and have sinned, know that we have a forgiving, loving, and caring Father. He cares for His children so much that He will watch over us even when we walk away from Him in total rebellion. Why would He do that? Because He sees our hearts and knows we are lost without Him.
Luke 15: 4-7 reflects the tremendous love God has for us when Jesus said to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law,
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
This is my testimony of the love God has for us, even when we are unworthy of His love. If you feel your faith has failed you and have turned away from God, just turn around. He is very near.
Be blessed in Christ Jesus!