“FEEL” LIKE GOD HAS LET YOU DOWN?
By: Norm Rasmussen
Have you ever “felt” like God has let you down? Maybe you “feel” that way now. If you do, please take the time to read this. You may be in perilous danger spiritually!
Being tempted to “feel” like God has let us down can be one of the most sickening feelings we can experience. But notice that tempted has been highlighted in yellow below. Every person who calls themselves a Christian will be tempted to “feel” like God has let them down at one time or another. What they do about that “feeling” may very well be their spiritual undoing, if they are not careful.
Before going any further, it might be wise for us to do a quick refresher teaching about what God can and cannot do, and what Satan can and cannot do. Using the Holy Scriptures (The Old and New Testament Bible) as our source of insight, we are told that God cannot tempt us:
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God;” for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (James 1:13 NKJV)
If then it is impossible for God to tempt us, then there are only two other places temptation can come from. (1): Satan (2): Our flesh
We know from these two passages of scripture that Satan, or the devil, is called the “tempter”:
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” (Matthew 4:3).
For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain. (1 Thessalonians 3:5).
Thus it is vitally important to know and believe that it is Satan, not God, who tempts us to sin. Never God.
Yet at times, there can be more to temptation than just the devil doing it. James 1:14 finishes a very important fact linked to the previous verse of James 1:13: But each is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
However, I believe an important distinction should be made regarding the topic being addressed here. I’m not convinced our flesh is tempting us when we begin to “feel” like God has let us down. I believe it is the tempter himself behind it. Satan is launching an all-out attack on us, and if we don’t believe it’s him behind it … Satan’s attack against us has much better odds of winning a victory for him.
Again let it be said – every serious born again Christian will most likely “feel” tempted at times like God has let them down. The devil will see to it! Trying to get us to “feel” like God has let us down is the initial thrust of Satan’s attack against us. But Satan gains no victory in us . . . until we actually begin to believe that God has let us down. Once we make the transition from “feeling” to believing that God has let us down -- we are walking in a very dangerous minefield! Once we begin walking in this dangerous minefield and setting off mines, we find our confidence in God to answer our prayers begins to diminish. Our intense desire to feast on God’s Word diminishes. Our intense desire to be used of Him to minister to others decreases. In a nutshell, rather than walking in the intimacy that is so important to maintain in our relationship with God – coldness and dullness of spirit begins and ultimately we can become “separated from God in our heart,” yet tell everyone around us and even ourselves that we are not, in an attempt to keep our pain and frustration buried.
If Satan can tempt us, can he test us, or try us, as the King James translation refers to it as? I find no conclusive evidence from scripture that Satan can try you and I, but there are a number of scriptural references that God can and does try us. What can make this trying or testing so difficult to understand is that God can and will use Satan to be the instrument of that trying -- oftentimes through tempting us. Probably the best evidence in seeing this process at work was recorded in Matthew 4:1: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
In a different passage, Jesus was tried so intently in the garden of Gethsemane just before going to the Cross that He sweat drops of blood (see Luke 22:44). That is what you call some very intense trying. Can we prove from scripture that it was actually Satan exerting pressure on Jesus to back out of going to the Cross - to die? (Which I suspect was actually happening). Not really, but can we prove that it was God the Father or God the Holy Spirit doing the trying either? I don’t believe we can. It is left up to our guessing just what was going on at that moment in time in the mind of our Savior that caused Him to sweat drops of blood. All we can know is that Jesus was undergoing some incredibly intense pain to be sweating drops of blood. It seems obvious this was a major trial. To think that Satan wasn’t actively involved behind the scenes doing some full-blown tempting would seem rather inconsistent with Satan’s nature.
We can be so thankful to God for giving us the Book of Job to gain some very clear insight into what can be going on in the spiritual realm (behind the scenes) when we are suffering. (If you’ve never read the book of Job, I would highly encourage you to read it in its entirety). Do you suppose that Job ever “felt” like God had let him down as Satan was launching his vicious attack against Job? When you’re doing all you know to do to be pleasing to God, and your world seems to be drastically falling apart … yes - I’ve got to believe there was some major temptation going on inside of Job to “feel” like God had let him down.
Did Job’s wife “feel” like God had let them down? You’ve got to believe it. When in the deepest frustration and anger she said to her husband in Job 2:9: “Curse God and die!” -- Satan had not only been successful in getting her to believe God had let her husband down – she then became the perfect vessel for Satan to use to tempt Job to do the same. Same what? In her heart, she had already grown angry and bitter at God, because by all human intellect and reasoning, it seemed obviously evident God had in fact let her husband down. Yet you and I know differently. God was allowing Job to be tried – to be tested. Satan was simply a tool God used in this very painful trying process.
Has it ever occurred to you that this may be your “Job trial?” – if you’re “feeling” right now like God has let you down? It might very well be, you know.
If you happen to be in a state of mind where you are wounded and hurting emotionally at the moment, it can easily appear as though God has to be a very “cruel God” to allow what He allowed Satan to do with Job and his servants. I agree – it makes God out to be just as cruel as Satan … except we dare NOT believe that to be the case at all! What we can so easily miss in our own pain and frustration with God at the moment is that God had something in store for Job on the other side so precious and so priceless that mere human words could not describe it! What was waiting on the other side for Job was eternal blessing beyond Job’s wildest imagination!
The same goes for you, dear suffering child of God. God has something waiting for you on the other side – something for all eternity that will qualify you to be capable of receiving it to it’s fullest – from the suffering that you may be undergoing right now. In our pain, it is so easy to forget that God has promised us in His Word:
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).
That means we may or may not even be allowed to remember our suffering down here in this life once we’re in heaven. What we don’t remember no longer carries much importance, right? Have you ever known someone who had some serious head trauma and they have forgotten their past? Angry, bitter people who can’t get victory over their past hurts have known to become completely new people to those close to them.
God has assured us … promised us in His Word that those who walk devoutly with Him in this life ARE going to suffer. This promise is found in 2 Timothy 3:12: Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus WILL suffer persecution. Remember, it is not God doing the persecuting however. It is Satan doing the persecuting because God is allowing Him to do it so that this persecution can work for our good.
PERSECUTION FOR OUR GOOD?
God has promised us in His Word that all our suffering will work for our good, as we trust God to accomplish good somehow out of it. Romans 8:28 is where that promise is found:
And we know that all things
work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called
according to His purpose. Every born again Christian is “called
according to His purpose,” by the way.
What “purpose” might that be?
Among other reasons, we’re “called” to have our faith tested.
I am fully persuaded that the most difficult test a person's faith can go
through is when a person feels like God has forsaken them ... especially time
and time again.
I am fully persuaded that the most difficult test a person's faith can go through is when a person feels like God has forsaken them ... especially time and time again.
Though it can be argued that our suffering ultimately may not work together for good if we grow bitter and angry at God and refuse to trust Him that it is going to “work together for our good someday” … wisdom of the ages through the Church has taught followers of Jesus Christ to always believe on the scriptures the way God would desire for us to believe during our times of suffering and pain … that God will in fact ultimately turn that suffering into something good. We may not see the evidence of it until after we enter heaven, but if that is what God ordains, so be it.
Job spoke the wisest words any person can speak when we’re tempted of the devil to “divorce God in our heart,” – tempted to even curse God and suffer the consequences as Job’s wife did to her husband. These were his words God recorded for us as Job answered his wife back right after she told him to curse God and die:
But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10 NKJV).
May I add a little explanation to the above scripture? “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not be exempt from Satan’s adversity that our heavenly Father allows in our life?”
See – what Job was not as much aware of as you and I can be -- because we have the complete Old and New Testament whereas he did not -- is where adversity usually comes from. Scripture says that the Godly are going to suffer persecution (affliction). [See: 2 Timothy 3:12]. Yes - at times people will suffer affliction because God is trying to get their attention. At other times people will suffer because they have God’s favor, and Satan is furious. Yet at other times people will suffer simply because it’s the natural consequence of poor or unwise choices on their part. Sadly … some people suffer simply because they are not yet aware of Satan’s deceitfulness, which brings us back to what this writing is primarily about: Discerning when the devil is trying to make us “feel” like God has let us down, and then taking corrective action to cause the devil to flee.
Was Jesus ever tempted by the devil to “feel” like God the Father had let him down? Yes He was. Mark 15:34 records: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Jesus cried out these painful words of rejection on the Cross to the Father. Let’s take a moment and examine a little closer what happened at that moment before going further. This is so vital to get in our spirit. Every temptation you and I will ever be tempted with … Jesus was tempted with also. Jesus could never have been the perfect, acceptable sacrifice for the sins of the world if you or I experience a temptation from Satan that Jesus was exempted from. To do so would be grounds for calling God a liar, which is blasphemy. Hebrews 4:15 says: For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in ALL points tempted as we are, yet without sin. All means exactly that: ALL!
Perhaps the greatest weapon to send Satan fleeing when we begin to dance with the temptations of “feeling” like God has … or is … letting us down is to remind ourselves over and over what Hebrews 13:5 says to the born again believer: Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. (Isn’t it something we usually want and can’t get that makes us “feel” like God has let us down?). For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
This scripture makes a two-part promise. Part one says that Jesus will never leave us. “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20).That’s not too difficult to believe, is it? By faith, we can receive that quite easily. How about Part two? Faulty human reasoning can so quickly override our faith in this truth when intense “feelings” of forsakenness come -- that God has let me down -- can’t it?
Being forsaken requires some qualifications, I believe, to get a good handle on what we’re dealing here with. If you are praying for a loved one to be healed yet that person dies anyway, has God forsaken you, or the person who dies? I don’t believe so according to God. If you give 10% of your money (gross amount, even), plus offerings over and above that 10% amount, and you never seem to have quite enough money for everything you would like, has God forsaken you? I don’t believe so according to God. If you’ve poured out your time and energy into ministry, and see very little if any fruit from your devotion to the call, has God forsaken you? I don’t believe so according to His definition of forsakenness. God says this life on earth is but a vapor. Contrary to our thinking at times in our hurt and discouragement, God does not see this life as an eternity and the next life as a vapor at all, but truly, just the reverse.
What are we assured of in this life if we don’t quit believing on Jesus Christ? Salvation, right? Doesn’t that speak of eternity? Citizenship in heaven? The Judgment Day? (Reward day for the saints). The book of Hebrews in its entirety, and especially the 11th Chapter, assures us that the heroes of the faith listed there did not receive their reward for their faithfulness to God here on earth. In fact, their full reward is yet awaiting them in heaven in the future, when you and I and those to follow us get up there with them.
And all these (listed Old Testament heroes of the faith), having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect (complete; spiritually mature), apart from us. (Hebrews 11:39-40).
Precious one … don’t ever allow the devil to trick you into thinking that God has obligated Himself to reward you to the fullest for your faithfulness to Him in this life, when in fact He never rewarded Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Esau, Joseph, Moses’ parents, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel to the fullest … not to mention the heroes of faith of the New Testament. God does reward us with love, peace, comfort and hope for our faithfulness to Him in this life, sure. And yes, testimonies abound of people receiving financial favor and blessings as they give liberally to the work of the Lord, yet testimonies also abound of people who have given and given to the work of the Lord only to receive very little financial gain back. Has their giving gone unnoticed and unrewarded by God? Of course not. Their reward is simply being delayed and stored up for eternity.
This might sound a little difficult, but give God your hurt and frustration right now, if you’re being tempted to feel forsaken. If you “feel” right now like God has let you down, why not send Satan a message loud and clear that you are wise to his tricks, and that you’re just going to refuse to give in to them any longer. Though Satan may have been tempting you to harden your heart toward God, it’s never too late to turn back to the Lord. After all … Jesus never left you through it all. He has promised not to. He’s just been patiently letting the tempting complete its work in you so that you’ll be a little more like Him – more equipped to be victorious over every tactic of the devil to use our suffering to tempt us to draw away from God, rather than closer.
That’s what it’s all about. God the Father shaping us, His people, to be like Jesus: fiercely determined, never taking the easy route to escape the pain of the right route – the Father’s route. A six-pack of soda pop and a bag of potato chips will not make our attitude like Jesus. A billion dollars in the bank will not make our attitude like Jesus. Being tempted by the devil and tried by God is what will make your and my attitude more like Jesus. Being made like Jesus will equip you to receive all the joy awaiting you through eternity … if you won’t quit on God in this life, because you’ve been tricked to “feel” like God has let you down.
The Bible nowhere promises that being made like Jesus was going to be fun. But it does promise that to those who will tolerate the pain, there is nothing else in this life that promises more eternal joy for those who will let God conform them to the image (fiercely determined to always please the Father) of Jesus Christ. The Bible also promises that we don’t have to suffer alone. When we suffer, Jesus is there inside us suffering with us in spirit. When we are so discouraged to pray, Jesus is praying for us. When we seem like there is no longer any capacity to experience joy, Jesus has plenty extra to spare if you ask Him for some of His.
God knew the going was going to be difficult for you, dear one. But He also knew you weren’t ever going to let the devil trick you again into “feeling” like God has let you down for very long. Now let Jesus heal you and go rescue others who need a helping hand. You’re needed greatly in the Army of God. The battle rages for the lost souls of mankind ...
A GLOBAL TRIAL IS COMING ...
I sense a strong unction from the Holy Spirit to mention a portion of scripture that end-time Christians may very well want to start seeking God on soon if they never have before. A time of trial is going to come upon the whole earth, and understanding that “trials” are ultimately designed by God to work good in us if we believe they (see James 1:2-3) will be the very weaponry that will bring about our deliverance.
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, (notice “persevere” is not a “suggestion”; the word used here is command). I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:10 NKJV).
Suppose you are living in the time when you will soon be told that you cannot buy or sell food for you and your family unless you “take the mark of the beast” (see Revelation 13:16-17). Will you buckle under the pressure to feed your family, or will you refuse to take the mark and trust God to either provide manna from heaven like He did for His people in the desert for 40 years, or … whatever God provides as a means of deliverance, which may even be your rapture or death (or both)?
Can you hear Satan demanding from God in the future like he demanded from God regarding Job: “If You allow me to tempt Christians that if they don’t take the mark, they are going to starve … they’ll take the mark and believe you’ll forgive them, just watch.”
None of us have any clue just how much we need to be tried (tested) before we are fit for eternity. Some of us will have virtually everything stripped away from us … tested by fire … before our time on earth is done. Why? Because God says that the trying of our faith is more precious than all the wealth and pleasures of this world, plain and simple. Human reasoning tries to persuade the mind that this is absolutely cruelty from God, doesn't it?
(Important Note: Be strongly encouraged to take the time to watch this video. It is a sobering warning by a very credible source of what Christians need to be aware of as the end times unfold: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWSCJ5vSus8 )
I dare say that 99% of the people who read this writing from beginning to end will be those who are "feeling" like God has betrayed them. People who have yet to go through such a trial will reason that this writing is absolute nonsense and not worth their time. That's very understandable.
The trying of our faith right up to the very end of our life may not make us a Hollywood movie celebrity or win us the Congressional Medal of Honor nor make us financially prosperous ... but it will be the most costly and precious treasure we will be able to take with us when we pass into the next life.
Don’t let the suffering you are going through right now, or in the future, be an open door for Satan to keep whispering to you, “God has let you down, hasn’t He?” Instead, slam the door right in Satan’s face by telling yourself every time you are tempted to “feel” like God has let you down: “God will never leave me nor forsake me, even if I die! He will meet my every need, and if He determines the only need I have is the assurance of eternal salvation - so be it ... because this was the only thing many Christians have had since the Church began as they've found themselves in the position to suffer and die as martyrs, refusing to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ” (God’s promise to us in Hebrews 13:5).
In the Book of Revelation, beginning in Chapter 2, Jesus addresses the seven churches. Though He has different things to say to each church, there is one theme that is common to all seven: Jesus challenges them to be overcomers.
Here is a way the Holy Spirit gave me to help remind myself of what I'm called to be that might help you as well. Insert "overcomer" between your first name and last name, so that "overcomer" becomes your new middle name.
Jesus is saying this to each of us, His fellow brothers and sisters: "Be an overcomer. Don't let the devil succeed at letting life's situations overcome you. Great will be your reward in heaven."
Let the question be asked again: "Will God ever let us down?" It is a trick question that the devil likes to get us to ask, because he knows that it is so easy to come up with a "YES!" No where in scripture does God promise us He will never let us down. What He has promised is that "He will never leave us or forsake us." (Hebrews 13:5). There is a difference between "letting us down" and "forsaking us." God gives us what we need, not always what we want. If God gave us everything we wanted, truly He would be forsaking us, because much of what we want would ultimately shipwreck our relationship with Him, and ultimately His plan to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. If we gave our children everything they wanted, we as parents would truly be forsaking our children as well, because it would make them selfish, self-centered adults one day, or sick and diseased by the time they reach adulthood (steady diet of candy, chips and soda pop and the like).
The wise Christian trusts the heavenly Father to ultimately give him/her what he/she needs, and remains flexible with the wants.
LIMITED heaven or UNLIMITED POTENTIAL heaven?
If only we can grab hold of this scripture and not let go of it during our times of struggle in this life, it might be the very thing that pulls us through:
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Can you conceive of the possibility, once in heaven, that God would give you the ability to create whatever you can imagine? Can you conceive of the possibility, once in heaven, that there will no end to how much joy that is available?
If the temptations, trials and testings in this life are to equip us to receive the rewards awaiting us in heaven, and our life on this earth is but a vapor as scripture says it is (James 4:14) ... can we not trust God that in His grand design to conform each of us to the image - the likeness - of Jesus Christ, that our "setbacks" are not setbacks at all, but rather God's future blessings in disguise?
Precious one ... you are truly rich and blessed if you have leaned to not let the devil trick you into believing that God has, or someday will, "let you down." It will carry you through every trial that may come your way.
In closing ... if perhaps there is someone reading this who has left God, and forsaken Him ... please know this: God will always take you back. After all ... He never left you. He was with you all the time. It was impossible for Him to leave you, in fact. And no matter how much you still might be convinced that "He let you down" ... He truly didn't. It was impossible for Him to forsake you, by His definition of forsakenness -- not ours. It was allowed for reasons that will ultimately work together for your good ... in light of eternity. Romans 8:28 promises that to be so.
Note: If you would like to read some other insights to suffering, you can click on:
In The Desert Of "Feeling" Forsaken?
God Still Allows "Job Encounters," I've Painfully Discovered
How Does God Use Trials?
If you would like to read Norm's born again testimony, you can click on this link: http://precious-testimonies.com/BornAgain/L-N/Norm.htm
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Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
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