“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
Several years ago on a Thursday night, our worship team was introduced to a new song by Israel Houghton and New Breed. The song was entitled, “I Am Not Forgotten”. The song’s anthem was soul-stirringly repetitive, coupled with an upbeat tempo to excite even the most casual listener. The lyrics and melody resonated strongly with the worship team that night. Collectively, we were thrilled about the opportunity to minister this song of hope — you are not forgotten. Over the years, I’ve heard songs, listened to passionate sermons, and received timely words of encouragement about God never forgetting or forsaking me. It rings with truth, echoes in my heart and causes “AMENS” to leap from my mouth.
With that said, I’ve learned the difference between intellectually knowing this truth vs. living this truth in our reality. After making the declarations, life’s challenges will cause even the strongest believer in Christ to wonder privately, “Lord, are you with me?” Oftentimes, this question arises in the secret place of pain, disappointment and disillusionment. We may struggle with the tension of the truth of Scripture and how it relates to our circumstances. What does this look like? Here are a few examples:
- The plan you committed to the Lord did not work out the way you thought or at all;
- Your prayer request appears to fall on deaf ears while others seem to prosper without much prayer;
- Despite all of your submitted efforts to serve God, it appears you are stuck in the same place;
- You’ve been reaching out to God in prayer but the situation is the same or getting worse.
These are real examples attached to real feelings. You are not alone. The Bible writers, scholars and great theologians have wrestled these feelings too. This feeling of being forgotten and forsaken cannot be simply articulated in a tweet, a Facebook message or an Instagram post. Too often, these feelings aren’t expressed fearing that others will question your faith in God. But, it will expose the very delicate nature of our souls by pondering over such questions as:
- Lord, am I doing something wrong?
- Lord, did I offend you in any way that would cause a withholding a blessing?
- Lord, what do you want me to learn in this situation?
- Lord, are you truly with me because I don’t feel you?
I’ve learned (and continue to learn in a great degree) that your feelings need to be filtered through the truth of God’s Word. Your feelings of abandonment or being forgotten by God are real and not to be disregarded. But, it is how we take our feelings and bring them to God in prayer. Learning to respond to the feeling of abandonment biblically sharpens us to see the difference between our flesh and our spirit. Our flesh nature tends to think that because something did not go our way, God must have left us. NOT SO! There are times in my life that I’m glad it did not go the way I thought. WHEW! I have to rest on the truth of God’s Word and not just my feelings in a moment or yes, even a season.
We live in a competitive society where the basis of success and prosperity have bled into the stream of Christendom. We look at what others have or what they have achieved and wonder — God, how about me? If you haven’t received or achieved what you wanted in your life (yet), it doesn’t mean it will not happen. But, could it be that God wants you to live your life in the truth that the greatest success you could ever have is being with Him? Take the Word of God to be true for your life right now. Your feelings may be in a battle to believe this truth — but here’s the truth: God knows the plans He has for you (Jeremiah 29:11). And His plan never includes forgetting you, forsaking you or abandoning you for another.