A dear sister in Christ asked for prayer today because she felt “lost, hopeless, and abandoned.” She went on to explain that she has been totally in love with Jesus, spending a lot of time in prayer, praise and worship, but her OCD (obsessive/compulsive disorder) “kicked in” and her intrusive thoughts went from questioning herself to questioning God. She is terrified because she can’t FEEL His presence and is afraid that Jesus has abandoned her.
I think this is a common fear that, if left unchecked, can also lead to doubt and even to unbelief. We want to know “Where are you God? Are you here? Did you leave me? Did I make a wrong step somewhere? Why can’t I hear you, see you, feel your presence? Why can others hear you and I can’t hear you? Does this mean you don’t love me? Does it mean you’re not real?”
I have too fallen into this trap of worry. For instance, the Lord has given me prophetic dreams, visions, and Rhema Words in the past, but I’ve also gone through seasons of silence and begin to wonder “Have I fallen out of favor?” Have I done something wrong, taken a wrong turn, gone down a wrong path?”
What do I do when these questions come into my mind, when fear or worry begin to invade my thinking? In her prayer request, My sister in Christ spoke of OCD (obsessive/compulsive disorder), intrusive thoughts and the like. Have you ever had intrusive thoughts, or thoughts that float through your mind that are totally unwelcome and uninvited? I certainly have, and generally they are not pleasant. When I see the suicide rates that have skyrocketed in the past few years, I have a feeling that many people experience unwanted thoughts, thoughts of abandonment, loneliness, self-condemnation, worry, fear.
General Statistics (USA)
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
- Every day, approximately 123 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
- There is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes. (CDC)
- There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
- There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)
- Nearly 800,000 people die by suicide in the world each year, which is roughly one death every 40 seconds.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years.
- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
These statistics are very sobering, and yet even more sobering is that each one of these “statistics” represents a face, a person, a life. These are not just numbers on some board, they are people who have felt abandoned, in pain, in fear, without hope, to the point of deciding that the only way to end the pain is to take their own lives.
You know, I woke up this morning asking Jesus what He wanted me to write about, not having any idea that this prayer request would come along later in the day, or even where this would take us…but here we are. I felt that Jesus wanted me to write about famine. Of course, we know that there are physical famines going on around the world in many places such as North Korea, parts of Africa and war torn places like Yemen. Jesus told us that in the last days, there would be famines, which would increase in frequency and severity just like labor pains of a pregnant woman. These ever increasing pains of PHYSICAL famine are also a metaphor for the severe spiritual famine that would plague mankind in the last days.
Where can we find the “words of the LORD”? We find the Words of the Lord in the Bible, otherwise known as “The Word of God”. The Old Testament prophet Amos was speaking of Spiritual famine, that people would HUNGER for the words of the Lord. In this increasingly secularized world, we become starved for the words of our Creator. How is this possible? In this current day and age, most FREE Western Nations have Bibles on their bookshelves, available on Amazon, or there are even free Online Bibles such as “Youversion”, Biblegateway, etc. But sadly, most of these free Bibles are gathering dust (so to speak) because people have abandoned the Word of God in exchange for humanism, secularism, or other “gods” (idols). Just as sad are the nations who have made the Bible into a “banned book” such as North Korea and China. I think we’re going to see this increase, also, as Christian persecution increases.
Jesus IS the Word of God made flesh. People NEED to hear the Words of the Lord because they are FOOD for the soul. Without God’s Word, we become disconnected from the Vine (Our Creator) and we begin to wither and die. Even Believers in Jesus can feel fear and anxiety if we do not hear or feel God speaking to us, or if we FEEL abandoned by God. God tells us that perfect Love casts out all fear.
My sister in Christ was AFRAID that the Lord had left her, had abandoned her because she couldn’t FEEL His Presence or HEAR His Voice. When God allows us to experience something negative, frightening, painful, or fearful, and we can’t HEAR or FEEL His presence, we begin to think that He has abandoned us. Our thoughts can reflect this also as we begin to think thoughts of self-condemnation…”What did I DO wrong? Did I not pray enough? Have I not loved others enough? ” These unwanted thoughts can come from our own minds, but they can also be broadcast INTO our minds by the “prince of the power of the air” or demonic entities that sadly also inhabit this earth with us in the unseen realm. There is a literal demonic “Spirit of fear” as we see in 2 Timothy 1:7. This demonic spirit FEEDS not only upon the Unbeliever and the lukewarm Christian, but also on those Christians who are either unfamiliar with the Word of God, or who lack confidence in His Word. Why do we need to know God’s Word to help us rid ourselves of this “Spirit of Fear”? Because God’s Words are SPIRIT and LIFE. Fear comes from our flesh. When we only (or mostly) believe what we experience with our 5 PHYSICAL senses (eyes, ears, touch, taste, smell), then we can easily fall prey to fear. God tells us in HIS WORD how to combat this fear..with perfect LOVE and with a SOUND MIND that are components of the Spirit that God has given Believers, namely His HOLY Spirit.
The Greek word sophroneo in Second Timothy 1:7 is a combination of “Sound mind” and “Love” and could be translated like the following:
“God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love — He has given you a mind that has been delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged, protected, and brought into a place of safety and security so that it is no longer affected by illogical, unfounded, and absurd thoughts.”
You see, when your mind is guarded by the Word of God, you think differently. When the Word of God is allowed to work in your mind, it safeguards your emotions; it defends your mind from demonic assault; and it shields you from arrows the enemy may try to shoot in your direction in order to arouse a spirit of fear inside you.
If we are spiritually starved by not knowing the Word of God, or if we don’t believe or TRUST in His Word, then even Christians can easily fall prey to this Spirit of Fear that is ever-present in the air around us.
Does God’s Word address the fear of abandonment, this fear that God will leave us if we’re not “good enough” or if we don’t measure up to someone else’s standards, or even our own? Does God’s silence mean that He has left us? We might think this, but is it the TRUTH? The enemy will tell us that God has left us, that we are losers, or that we are crazy and God isn’t real. Who do we believe? God’s Word gives us TRUTH which is why it is our ANCHOR in the storms of life, and why we must bind it on the “frontals of our foreheads”. Shema (“hear”) is the Hebrew word that begins the most important prayer in Judaism. It is found in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 6:4, which begins with the command to “Hear.” The whole Shema prayer, which includes verses 4-9, is spoken daily in the Jewish tradition:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is ONE (echad). You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
No, we’re not Jewish, but Jesus was Jewish! Also we believe and have reported before that the Israel of God includes both Jew and Gentile, One in Messiah. The ISRAEL of God is more than a genetic people group, it’s more than a sovereign nation, it’s the FAMILY of God. Gentiles have been GRAFTED INTO the Israel of God. The Jewish people recite the Shema, and yet they don’t realize that YESHUA (Jesus) IS their prophesied Messiah.
- I don’t want to get sidetracked, but notice the word “echad” in the Shema (The Lord our God is Echad (One). This Hebrew Word means Oneness and strength derived from twisting and binding together. The inference when describing God as ONE (Echad) in the Shema is that there is more than one “Part” to God because the word “Echad” speaks of the Oneness and strength that is derived from “binding together” as ONE. Christians understand that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are 3 “parts” (states of being), that are eternally bound together as ONE GOD. In other-words, the TRUE GOD exists as ONE GOD bound together (ECHAD) in 3 forms (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). I pray and believe that someday SOON the Jewish people will fully see this truth.
- The next thing we notice in the Shema is that we need to take the Words of God (God’s Commandments/His Word/Scripture) and bind them as a sign on our hands and on our foreheads. This is DIRECTLY OPPOSITE the mark of the beast, another set of “words” that is “bound” to the foreheads or the right hands of those who worship the beast system. We’ve talked about this before in previous posts and believe that the mark of the beast is both physical and spiritual. In this life we must make a decision and there are REALLY only two choices. We can either choose the TRUE GOD who exists in 3 forms (YHWH, YESHUA, HOLY SPIRIT) OR we can choose satan (beast/dragon) in whatever form or “religion” he presents himself. Everything that is AGAINST Jesus the Christ, I mean every man-made religion, secularism, atheism, etc, is FOR the devil whether they know it or not. Also, as a word of caution to those who are “on the fence”, trying to decide whether or not to believe in the Son of God…..the devil owns the fence.
The Shema teaches us that we need to bind God’s Word on our foreheads. This means that we should know, understand and BELIEVE the Word of God. In the New Testament, this is known as the “Helm of Salvation”, and is part of our Godly armor. The helm of Salvation will guard your thoughts against the enemy’s voice of condemnation and fear. This is something we need to “put on” every day as we bind God’s Words on our foreheads.
Look at that! Just knowing that one little verse in the Bible, and BELIEVING IT over the voice of the enemy shows us that if we BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God, and if we have confessed with our mouth that JESUS is LORD, than we are “In Christ” and we are NOT CONDEMNED, which means our salvation is SECURE. God’s Word, His Truth DROWNS OUT the voice of the enemy! Hallelujah!
What else does God’s truth tell us? Here’s a super huge IMPORTANT verse that will grant peace to those who are AFRAID that God has left them or abandoned them. This verse WILL bring PEACE IF we BELIEVE HIS WORD.
Deuteronomy 31:6: Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will NOT fail you or FORSAKE you.”
Hebrews 13:5: Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will NEVER desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
Do we believe God’s Word over what we see with our eyes? Do we believe God’s Words over the voice of the enemy? If we don’t sense God’s presence, do we panic or do we go back to the Words that we have bound on our foreheads and REMEMBER that God told us that HE will NEVER leave or forsake us. Forsake means to abandon.
What about this next verse? Do we BELIEVE this verse? Romans 8:38 makes it very clear that Jesus will NEVER leave us and that NOTHING can separate us from the Love of God for us that is in Christ Jesus.
This is really Good News, and is one of the MANY promises that God makes for HIS PEOPLE in HIS WORD. You see, God’s Word holds His promises FOR US. God’s character is such that it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to LIE. This means that God is ALWAYS FAITHFUL to fulfill His Word.
If a person is a Believer in Jesus, but doesn’t know God’s Word for one reason or another, that does NOT nullify God’s promises to them. Even if the Believer doesn’t KNOW that God will NEVER leave them, He STILL WON’T leave them! However, KNOWING God’s Word, Knowing God’s PROMISES that He makes in His Word TO US, gives us comfort, strength, and wisdom in the storms of life. The person who KNOWS and BELIEVES that God will never leave or forsake them will be better equipped when those voices sound that God doesn’t love them or that God has ABANDONED them. The Believers who have written God’s Words on their foreheads, who have PUT ON the helm of salvation, who REMEMBER and BELIEVE God’s promise will be far less apt to receive the spirit of fear and far less apt to move to anxiety, hopelessness or even despair.
One more thing. In order for God to GIVE US this GIFT of HIS continual and abiding presence and LOVE in our lives, Jesus, the Son of God, WAS abandoned by God. I know this is shocking, but it’s part of what Jesus did for us. Christians understand that Jesus died a horrible, painful death on the Cross for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to die. But what Jesus truly did was BECOME SIN itself so that we could become the RIGHTEOUSNESS of GOD. In the NEW COVENANT Jesus exchanged HIS CLEAN, WHITE HOLY ROBES of RIGHTEOUSNESS, and put on our FILTHY, DIRTY RAGS. He then took them to the Cross and buried them forever. On the third day, Jesus ROSE from the Grave VICTORIOUS because HE had NEVER SINNED. The sting of death is sin, and the grave couldn’t hold Jesus because HE was the SINLESS LAMB OF GOD. Our sins have been buried forever.
Jesus took upon Himself ALL of our sins. I don’t think we can fully comprehend this because we live in a world filled with sin, and we inhabit human sin-filled flesh. Basically, we’re USED to it. But Jesus had never known sin, had never sinned even a tiny wrong thought. Jesus is the ONLY ONE who could fulfill the sacrificial Lamb of God. I once heard this analogy which is the closest thing we could understand to what it must have been like for Jesus to put on our sin. It’s like the most beautiful, purest virgin in the world who had never even had a vulgar thought in her mind, who was completely innocent, was just brutally gang-raped by a large group of thugs and outlaws. It must have been that bad for the HOLY ONE of ISRAEL to put on SIN. Jesus did this for you and for me! BECAUSE Jesus literally clothed himself in our sin, His Father GOD ALMIGHTY could not even look upon Him as He died on the cross. God’s eyes are too pure to look on sin (Habakkuk 1:13).
Jesus WAS forsaken of God, He was ABANDONED for just a brief time so that we would NEVER have to be abandoned. JESUS chose this because He loves us so much. If you have doubts about God’s love for you, go back to these verses, go back to His Word and learn and REMEMBER God’s promises. If you still have trouble, pray for Jesus to help your unbelief, because HE WILL.
We are going to sometimes feel like God has abandoned us because there are times or seasons in our lives when God does seem silent; however, we are going to have to make a decision on who we TRUST. Do we trust ourselves? Do we trust our FEELINGS? Or Do we TRUST God’s PROMISES?? It’s a choice, it’s a decision, and I choose God’s Promises.
Dear Lord Jesus, we come together to ask You to please help our unbelief and to help us learn and grow in Your Word that is SPIRITUAL food for our souls. Father, when the storms of life take hold, when we cannot hear Your voice or cannot feel Your presence, please help us to REMEMBER and STAND ON Your Promises that You will NEVER leave or forsake us. Help us to bind Your Words on our foreheads. We thank You so much for what You did at the Cross for us. Words cannot express our extreme thanks and gratitude as although we cannot fully grasp yet Your Mercy, Your Grace, Your Agape Love, we receive it with Gratitude and Thanksgiving. Please, Father, silence the voice of the enemy, the spirit of fear that has overcome our sister in Christ and many other Christians. Father, help them to stand on Your Word and to not believe the LIES of the enemy! Silence the voice of the Blacksmith hammer and drown out his lies with Your Truth! In Jesus’ Name we pray! Amen!!
Tonight, while thinking of this post and talking to Jesus (in my car as I often do), this song was playing on the radio and is the PERFECT song for this blog post. No accidents with our God! Blessings! 😊