Can God Forsake Me?

Do you ever feel like God has totally forgotten you and your problems, needs, and deepest desires? I do. Do you ever feel rejected by Him? Maybe you’re holier than I am, but I sometimes make the mistake of taking the actions of people, human beings incapable of the perfect love of our Heavenly Father, and assuming these reactions represent the attitude of God. After a summer of literally 20 rejection letters I sometimes entertain the very destructive and heretical thought that God has forgotten about me. Somehow, even after every proof of His sure and steady love, I doubt His promises. “But Kristin,” you might say, “It’s normal for an author like you to receive so many rejections… it’s part of the deal, isn’t it? Like, aren’t there lists of authors that were rejected over and over again before they finally got their big break?” Yeah, actually. And I do expect constant rejection as an author. But the thing that had me really down, and depressed if I’m being honest, is that the rejections I mentioned earlier were about missions support.

Photo by Alex Jones

You see, my husband and I also happen to be full time missionaries living in a country where it is illegal for us to work. So this summer we traveled all over the U.S. (and even to Canada) to pitch our ministry and our family to other Christians in an effort to raise our monthly support to a level that will pay for our most basic needs in addition to language school, visa fees, and ministry costs. In Christian circles we like to call this process ‘support raising.’

Not Your Job

This summer started out with a class about support raising and in it, a really cool and super knowledgable guy told us a significant truth, “You can only present the opportunity for other people to co-labor in the work you are doing to further God’s kingdom. The important thing to realize in order to guard against bitterness is that you have no control over the outcome. Your job isn’t to convince someone to support you. Do your best and leave God with the rest.” That was such a liberating idea, at first, before the rejection letters, texts, messages, phone calls, and emails piled up. I’m actually not bitter about all the rejection. But at some point in this process, and I can’t say exactly when, I started to align these rejections with God’s feelings about me. That is a very dangerous place to be. Can you relate? I hope not, but understand if you do.

Can God Forsake Me?

So, I did what I usually do when I realize my thoughts have formed into a unbiblical pattern. I made a plan of action to remind my battered spirit what the truth is. Yay for the Bible, right? I had to answer the question, “Is God even able to forsake me?” In light of the following verse we must conclude that the answer to that question is a resounding and final ‘no’ remembering that when God makes a promise He always, always, always keeps it.

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” -Hebrews 13:5-6

I read ‘My Utmost For His Highest,’ a collection of teachings and writings from Oswald Chambers, every single day. I love the way Chambers talks about this verse:

What line of thinking do my thoughts take? Do I turn to what God says or to my own fears? Am I simply repeating what God says, or am I learning to truly hear Him and then to respond after I have heard what He says? “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

“I will never leave you…”— not for any reason; not my sin, selfishness, stubbornness, nor waywardness. Have I really let God say to me that He will never leave me? If I have not truly heard this assurance of God, then let me listen again.

-Excerpt taken from Utmost.org, June 4th Entry ‘The Never-forsaking God’

Hebrews 13:5-6 Break Down

Step 1: Don’t covet. (Coveting is sin, and sin is always a poor choice that leads to other bad decisions.)

Step 2: Be satisfied with what you have. (Okay, yeah this is hard, but necessary.)

Step 3: Embrace and believe in God’s promise never to leave nor forsake you.

Step 4: Remember the Lord is my helper. He will help. (We may not agree that His help is always the best approach at the time, but we need to choose to trust Him. He’s got this.)

Step 5: Don’t fear! (Another difficult choice.)

Step 6: Answer this question, “What can man do to me?” And realize that nothing a man can do to me will have eternal consequences.

Wrong Thinking On My Part

When I decide to let the behaviors and choices of men cancel out the truths that God so strongly emphasizes in His Word, I am making a grave error. I am sinning. I am giving myself over to heretical thinking. Just because man has rejected me does not mean that God will. If brothers and sisters in the faith forsake me, that does not mean that God will. The truth that I need to remember, recite, and allow to reverberate throughout my being is that God has promised NEVER to leave me nor forsake me. As Chambers points out, this is not a conditional promise, “I will never leave nor forsake you as long as…” or “I will never leave nor forsake you if you do these things…” It is not a conditional statement. It is a declarative. Then in verse 6 it gets even better because we see that God is our helper. God! The same One that created the entire universe. The same Father that sent His Son to die on the cross—such a heavy price—so that I could be with Him forever. And this verse ends with this important reminder which I clearly need, “What can man do to me?”

This humbling reminder emphasizes that if God is going to do it, man can’t undo it. Does God want to provide for the needs of my family? Yes, of course! Does God need men to accomplish that provision? No. Would it be nice and validating if people would support our mission and ministry? Yes, but I don’t need that validation as long as I am sure that our family is acting in obedience to God.

All that to say (and yes I realize it is ironic for a writer to use such a phrase) I realize that it’s my wrong thinking that gets me into trouble. Whether or not I feel rejected by people, I know that I will not be rejected by God. Because Jesus.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin N. Spencer

Why Are You Here – A Christmas Post

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This year, Christmas has eluded me like some sort of convoluted puzzle box. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to put this specific season into words; because Jesus. But to be honest, it wasn’t until just now that everything hit me. I’m sitting here, really listening to Christmas music for the first time, thinking of what Jesus did, and what I want to say to you, my friend. The one I love. The person who knows me and sees me live life.

A majority of my friends aren’t believers. They don’t believe Jesus needed to take their sins on Him when He died on the cross because they don’t believe that God is holy and demands holiness. Most don’t believe in God at all. I live in a very Orthodox culture, and while most people will say they believe, they’re struggling to stay positive this holiday season. Hope is missing. Is that you this Christmas? Maybe you’re struggling to find hope. I used to feel the same way.

People ask me this question every single day, “Why are you here?” It isn’t obvious to them. Why would anyone with three kids leave their home country for a different country where things are pretty much falling apart and they can’t communicate well? It makes little sense. And the answer I give is always the same, “We’re here to help.” And I say that sincerely each time. I think many Christians would be disappointed that I don’t at once launch into the gospel message but I don’t, because I care. If I did, one of the two things would happen. The first is that I would lose this new person’s trust forever. The second is that I would lose their trust for an unknowable span of time. So I leave it. I let them watch me. I know they’re watching.

I know you’ve been watching. And I want to tell you that Jesus is the reason I can love you the way I do. Jesus is the reason I can care about you and make you feel like you’re important. You are, but I wouldn’t know or understand that without Jesus. And when Jesus came, I feel like His answer was the same as mine, “I’m here to help.” It didn’t make sense for Him to come, did it? He left perfection for a place that was falling apart. And He couldn’t communicate well. No one understood Him. Really understood. But He came. And in that same spirit of love, He sent me. That’s why I’m here. To tell you about Him. And I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment, and if you’re reading this right now, then I feel like this is it. Jesus can only be one of four things… a lunatic, a liar, a legend, or the Lord. I believe there is overwhelming evidence that the last is the right answer, but if you’re unconvinced and you want to talk about it… let’s talk. I won’t get mad, no matter what you say. I won’t stop loving you, even if you choose not to believe. I just want to talk to you, because I care about you, and Jesus came to save you from your sin. Jesus loves you, and if you were the only person He needed to die for on the cross, He still would have done it. But because I know how powerful the gospel is (infinitely more powerful than any personal testimony I could give you), here is the gospel. For your consideration:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” -John 1:14

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” -Mark 10:45

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” -Romans 8:1

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” -Romans 8:32

“For He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” -2 Corinthians 5:21

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” -2 Corinthians 8:9

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” -1 Timothy 1:15

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.” -1 John 4:10

Merry Christmas.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

 

The verses listed in this post were featured in the post linked here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/ten-gospel-verses-to-keep-warm