Call it by any name, but the belief in something bigger than ourselves, and bigger than what we see, is a strength that can help people through difficult times. Difficulty in life, illness, tragedy, and trauma is never easy, but many find strength in supportive beliefs. The question is, how do we reconcile belief in God, or some force outside ourselves, with difficult experiences, pain, and suffering?
Is it natural to feel abandoned by God?
It is common and natural, and nothing to be ashamed of. Spiritual leader Jess Foster describes it beautifully as a form of exhaustion. We are exhausted in body, mind, spirit, and faith when we reach a place where we can no longer continue as we are. We can no longer continue storing this energy, or withstanding the pain of it coming out. He says: “There is no shame in your exhaustion. We are all exhausted, my love. Slow down today. Allow yourself to rest, deeply, and weep. And breathe. And begin again. Now”. This is a place from where new life can grow. It is natural to feel abandoned by god and at the same time this can be where a deeper connection to god can come from.
Can God really hate someone?
God doesn’t hate anyone; what is upsetting to God is when someone acts out of accordance with what’s in their true nature. We’re all meant to be generally good and kind, because altruism is an inherent basic human characteristic. But what happens is that through experience and trauma (big T and little t trauma – big T being abuse, neglect, etc, and little t being the stuff that life throws at us daily (ie difficult employer, job loss etc), as well as pressure and influence from the outside, people lose track of how to trust their inner nature. This is what happens to people that lose their way.
Anyone who seems to be constantly struggling may feel that god hates them, or that they’re being picked on by the universe, but what’s happening is they’re being given a signal that they’re out of tune with their most basic self. God can’t hate any one person because there is inherent goodness in literally everyone. Some people are just further away from that inherent goodness than others. It’s the distance that God encourages us to close. But there is no hate.
What kind of help can I get when I start to feel abandoned by God?
The best kind of help is help that allows you to speak your whole truth, and express the emotional baggage and pain that you have storing and trying to keep at bay for so long. Help that lets you unpack this, sort through it, see it, and let it go, all without judging you or the pain is the best kind of help. Help that works to simply remove the symptom, remove the signal, and continue on as you are is not really true help in the long run, because you may end up right back where you are, or with a different kind of pain coming up. True help can come from friends, family, your spiritual community/clergy, therapist, doctor, pets, nature, meditation, journaling, and silence/stillness.