A Letter to the Friend Who Feels Like Giving Up on God
I was devastated when you told me that you’ve decided to “give up” on God.
But in some ways, your decision didn’t come as a complete surprise to me.
For a long time, you’ve been struggling with deep hurts, unresolved conflicts, and emotional baggage. You took your pains to be signs that God had abandoned you and left you alone in the wilderness.
I know it doesn’t feel this way right now, but I want you to know that nothing could be further from the truth.
Sometimes it can be difficult to see past what we’re going through, especially when the end seems to be nowhere in sight. And I know how hard you’ve tried to seek after God through the different trials you’ve faced over the past few years. I know how tightly you held on to Him even when you went through situations that you couldn’t understand. I know how desperately you tried to look for answers.
You sacrificed a huge part of your youth to serve Him. You traded lucrative job offers for the mission field—giving up material comforts, financial security, and even family relationships—to live among the poor and build His kingdom there. You were crushed when things didn’t quite go as you had hoped, and you were asked to leave after many heated disagreements with your co-workers. You came home broken, jaded, and disillusioned.
But still you did not let it deter you from continuing to live your life for Him. You wanted your life to count for Him, so you threw yourself into more ministry opportunities, signed up for theological studies, and spent more time with Him.
I remember the long conversations we had as we tried to process what you had been through—Why did God allow them to happen? Why didn’t He give you a way out? Why doesn’t He make it easier for us to see what He is doing behind the scenes?—and I wish I was able to help you find better answers, greater comfort, and more peace.
I still don’t have answers for you now.But here’s what I’ve known to be true: Even at the lowest moments of my life, God has never abandoned me.
Do you remember the time when I felt like I was on the top of the world—I was in what I thought was my dream job then—and then everything came crashing down in a single day? That day, I didn’t just lose my job. I also lost my vision and zest for life, and all my well-laid plans crumbled into dust.
It took me a long time to recover from it, and to begin to believe again that God knew what He was doing with my life. But you were there with me when I decided to take a timeout and go into missions in India for six months, hoping that I’d have a clearer vision of what I should do next with my life at the end of it.
Do you remember those nine months I struggled to find a job right after I came back from India? As if it wasn’t exhausting enough to apply for job after job and hear nothing back, I was confronted with so many questions about why I was still unemployed (with the underlying suggestion that I wasn’t trying hard enough). You knew how difficult it was to push myself out of the house to meet more questions I couldn’t answer. And you celebrated with me when an offer finally fell into place.
You were there to listen to me when I was trapped in a toxic and suffocating work environment, questioning whether I had even heard God right in taking on that job. It was a huge struggle to get out of bed each day, and I’d reach home every night drained and depressed, wondering how I’d be able to summon enough energy to get to work the next day.
You saw me grow in despair as I watched the only friends I had at work moving on to other things. I envied how easily God gave them a way out—while I was still stuck there, left to fend for myself. I was bitter and angry with God, I couldn’t understand how it could possibly be good for me to stay in that place.
It would be more than a year before I finally found a way out myself.Now, the different threads of pain and confusion from those past years are finally coming together. And I’m beginning to see the picture that God intended to weave all this while.
I don’t know if I can ever say that the pain of what I went through was worth it, but I know that it gave me a little taste of what it’s like to share in the fellowship of Jesus’s sufferings (Philippians 3:10)—and I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.
I’m sharing my story with you not to belittle or trivialize what you’re going through, or even to add salt to your wounds. I’m writing this simply to remind you of how much I valued those times when you sat with me in silence, mourned with me in my struggles, and rejoiced with me in my breakthroughs. And I want you to know that I’m here to do the same for you.
For many years, I’ve held Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 close to my heart, and I rejoice in the opportunity to walk with you, and comfort you with the comfort that I myself have received from God (v 4).
Today, one of your favorite songs snuck into my Spotify playlist, and it reminded me of the fire that you once had, your determination to see the goodness of God in your life and the lives of those around you (Psalm 27:13). Perhaps these words feel meaningless to you right now.
But just as your friendship and prayers helped me fix my eyes on God when I was tempted to falter, I am determined to keep praying and believing with you that we will see the Lord’s goodness together. That one day, everything will make sense. And none of what you have been through would be wasted.
And the next time you sing the refrain “You are good” again, it will be with a different kind of fire. It will be with the hard-won confidence of the psalmist, who can now say, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). It will be with the purity of one who has gone through God’s refining fire, and emerged as pure as gold (Job 23:10). It will be with the tenderness of one who has tasted and seen the goodness of a God who pursues us relentlessly, even when we’ve decided to let go of His hand.
Until then, I will keep praying with you, walking with you, waiting with you.
This touched me. God bless you Rebecca.
Rebecca, this is incredibly moving and a wonderful declaration of love to God and your friend!
Rebbeca I don’t know if you still visit this page, but I could really use a friend. I lost my grandfather to cancer two months ago and I’m taking it very badly because I believe God gave me scriptures and a promise that my grandfather would make it.
Life it’s self has always been hard for me if it could go wrong it did. When good things come into my life is seems likes they are only there to eventually caused me the maximum amount of pain. My spirit is crushed and I’m struggling to not give up on God, to not be angry and bitter at Him. Because in truth I feel like He did me wrong that He got my hopes up knowing that He had no intentions of healing my grandfather.
I gave my life to Christ in very turbulent season. And I was scared to trust God because I have been burned by people who I was suppose to trust and have felt like I had burned by God before. But I wanted to try, I wanted to believe in God to trust Him. So I took a chance even though I was terrified. And now I feel like did I trust God for no reason? After everything I had gone through with Him. Allowing Him close enough where He could hurt me was not easy only for that exact thing to happen.
My grandfather was the only person in my corner when my family refused to care about my pain.
Everyone I have talked to has either shamed me for my crisis of faith or told me I’m not doing enough that I didn’t do enough or are to scared and get mad at me and say I’m trying to blasphemy God. When I’m trying to be honest about the state of my heart and drop a pin in very confusing and deeply painful time in my life.
The reason why I am so angry is because I believed with all my heart in God’s goodness that He would finally do it for me too for my family. After years of misfortune. If I didn’t believe in God goodness I wouldn’t be in pain like this.
I just want someone to be a light and understand why I am where I am, for it to be understandable why I’m seeing things that way I seeing things, way my view of God has come to where it is. I want my pain to be validated I want to be understood and I have not gotten any understanding in my darkest season.
Gotten no help from the church or any other Christian. From no one.
Have not gotten any help or compassion. I’m alone and my hope is gone my faith was buried with my grandfather whom I believe and trusted so hard in God to save. Thought He would because I thought I had confirmation of the promise.
Is there help for people like me? Or am I lost to darkness?